cold and flu

Motorists warned of the dangerous effects cold and flu treatments can have

With the seasons changing and the weather getting frostier, the rise of cold and flu is upon us. With this it is important to be aware of the dangerous effects some medication can have on driving.

Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist warn that driving while effected by drugs, even those prescribed by a doctor, is not only hazardous but likely to be met with consequences.

There are cold and flu treatments, painkillers and other prescribed medication which can cause drowsiness. This would therefore mean a driver’s ability to concentrate and react would be reduced. Raising the risk of a road traffic accident, which could lead to a personal injury.

What does the law say

Many people know drink and drug driving is illegal, but may not be aware the same can apply to medicines. The Road Traffic Act 1988 states it is an offence to drive when unfit through drink or drugs.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “You may not be aware your driving can be compromised by medicinal drugs. Therefore you could be breaking the law without realising.”

A conviction from driving whilst unfit carries a minimum one-year driving ban, an unlimited fine, and up to six-months imprisonment. Therefore it’s so important you know any risks relating to your medication…

Know the risks of your cold and flu medication

Any form of medication, even over the counter cold and flu remedies, can unfavourably affect your driving ability. It’s vital you follow advice contained in packaging, and that given by your GP or pharmacist.

“We cannot stress enough the importance of reading labels and seeking advice from healthcare professionals before driving. If you find that a specific remedy is likely to make you drowsy and impair your driving, then you must not drive after taking it.” Neil from GEM warns.

“If you need to drive, make sure you ask a healthcare professional for a medicine that will not cause drowsy side-effects.”

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