When Should You Stop Driving When Pregnant?

woman driving silhouette

Pregnancy comes with numerous restrictions that one must follow in order to ensure the baby’s safety as well as the pregnant person’s. For this reason, certain tasks are often delegated to their partners to accommodate for the changes their bodies are going through: they become heavier, they feel the need to urinate more frequently, they get instances of hot flashes, etc. So when they decide on driving while pregnant, this decision is met with much apprehension by the people around them. And understandably so. After all, anything can happen in these Los Angeles streets.

Driving When Pregnant in Los Angeles

Traffic fatalities have only gone worse since the government-mandated lockdown was eased. Although government officials planned on reducing the number of traffic fatalities in Los Angeles through the Vision Zero Initiative, their efforts have not been as fruitful as they would have liked.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that 9,560 deaths nationwide were linked to motor vehicle traffic crashes in January to March 2022 alone, the highest first-quarter fatalities in twenty years. This increase in traffic deaths nationwide corresponds with Los Angeles’ burgeoning traffic deaths as well, with 63 people dying in car crashes this year compared to the preceding year’s 53 during their respective first quarters.

It’s only fair to say that those carrying a baby in their belly are one of the most vulnerable people on the road. Coupled by bouts of nausea, frequent discomfort, and the Los Angeles congestion, driving could become a much more difficult task for them than it used to be.

Examining The Dangers of Pregnancy Driving

With hindered capabilities, the safe driving capacity of pregnant people are explored in a 2014 research study published by Dr. Donald Redelmeier and his team in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. While the study is almost a decade old, it nevertheless provides an insight into the dangers of driving while pregnant.

The research zeroes in on pregnant women, and it found that:

  • They are more susceptible to crashing their vehicles when pregnant.

  • Prior to the participants’ pregnancy, they were involved in an average of 177 car crashes a month. This figure increased to 252 a month during their pregnancy.

  • Pregnant women in their second trimester are at an increased risk of getting into a car crash (NBC NEWS)

This Begs The Question: Can Pregnant Women Drive?

Yes, says Redelmeier to NBC News. He says that this study does not aim to discourage pregnant people from driving entirely. Rather, he wants them to take extra precautions when doing so. Contrary to popular belief, the driving capabilities of pregnant women are actually found to be superior to men their age despite the limitations imposed on them by their pregnancy, adds NBC News.

Driving Tips For Pregnant People

  • Heed your doctor’s advice: There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to ensuring your safety as well as your baby’s. Therefore, make sure you get a greenlight from your doctor to drive before doing so.

  • Wear your seatbelt: This may be a controversial opinion especially as people have given out advice opposite to this, but it cannot be denied that seatbelts save lives. As long as the seatbelt isn’t running across your belly bump (thus potentially stifling your baby), you should be fine. But as always, it will always come back to advice #1: ask your doctor what you should do regarding seatbelt-use prior to driving.

  • Allot time for driving breaks: When you’re carrying a child inside you, you may feel nauseated at the randomest times and it could happen when you’re driving. Anticipate these episodes and allot time for them when you’re driving somewhere.

  • Make sure your car airbag works: Airbags are essential safety features of your car, so when you’re driving while pregnant make sure that your car is equipped with them. It’s not enough to just wear a seatbelt. You have to have airbags to shield you from sudden impacts should they come your way.

  • Minimize distractions: Your pregnancy may come with extreme discomfort and nausea, both of which could affect your driving performance. This already puts you at a higher risk of crashing as it is, so you should make sure to minimize distractions as you’re driving. This means putting your phone on DND, following traffic rules vigorously, etc.

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If you or a loved one is suffering due to an accident, reach out to our team. Visit our Contact Us page or call us at (310) 504-1852.

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