The good news is that the weather is warming up again! The bad news is that this means pollen levels are likely to increase significantly in the UK in the coming days. If you’re a sufferer of hay fever, you must ask yourself; should I really be driving?
Hay fever is one of the most common allergies, affecting approximately 13 million people across the UK. Well, when we’re lucky enough to get some warm weather, that is…
Driving with hay fever
Of course, not all of these 13 million sufferers will be road users, with many being children. However, a good few million seasonal sneezers are active drivers; these are the people who need to be extra careful.
GEM Motoring Assist is reaching out to help sufferers of hay fever to tell you to check any medication before driving. The side effects of some hay fever remedies make driving very dangerous, risking a road accident which could lead to serious personal injuries to the driver and other road users.
Some of these anti-hay fever tablets can make you feel drowsy, groggy or dizzy. In turn, your reaction time is negatively affected and your vision may deteriorate too. As you know, these are symptoms that do not mix well with driving, which requires full concentration.
Worryingly, recent research by Confused.com reveals that over half of drivers have taken medication for hay fever.
Hay you! Don’t break the law…
Due to the risks that come with driving while on medication, you could actually be breaking the law by doing so.
Neil Worth, GEM Road Safety Officer, warns: “The same road traffic laws apply to therapeutic drugs as to illicit substances, so if your driving is impaired and you cause a collision, you risk prosecution and the loss of your licence”.
So even your prescription and over-the-counter drugs can land you in big trouble if you’re caught driving after taking them.
Drug-driving can hit you with a driving ban of at least one year, as well as an unlimited fine. More serious offences can result in a jail sentence of up to six months.
However, a shocking 86% of drivers are unaware of these drug-driving rules.
Crucial road safety tips – driving on hay fever medication
- Look at the packet/instructions of your medication; it should have a drowsiness warning if appropriate.
- Alternatively, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist whether it’s safe to drive while taking the medication you’re given.
- It’s particularly important to avoid driving if it’s the first time you’re taking a dose of this medication. You should firstly note how it makes you feel; so if you don’t feel drowsy or dizzy, then you may decide it’s safe to drive next time.
- If driving is essential, but you find that a medicine does make you sleepy, try asking if there’s an alternative, non-sedating medication option.
- If you can’t avoid the potentially dangerous side effects of your remedy, you must avoid driving. Arrange alternative methods of transport e.g. public transport, a taxi or a lift from a friend/family member.
If you’re unsure about driving on medication, you should have a look at Confused.com’s drug-driving calculator and research – click here.