Can Hay Fever Affect Your Driving?

By | 03/04/2017

An interesting and informative article from guest contributor, Lindsay Neal, on behalf of Go Girl Car Insurance.

Can Hay Fever Affect Your Driving?

One of the few unwelcome summer visitors, hay fever affects around one-third of the population. With its nuisance symptoms, it can interfere with many aspects of everyday life.  As a new driver, it’s worth bearing in mind that hay fever may impact on your driving in a number of ways.

Hazardous driving

When hay fever strikes, watery, itchy eyes, constant sneezing and a runny nose can be a distraction when you’re driving.  Your symptoms may cause you to lose concentration, blur your vision or make you feel generally below par.

Yet, it’s not just the symptoms that can impair your driving ability.  The medications you take to ease the symptoms can cause drowsiness, dizziness and confusion, putting you and others in danger when you’re behind the wheel.

Increasing awareness

Despite this, many people aren’t aware how hay fever can impact their driving, often failing to read medication instructions to weigh up the risks before jumping in their car.  Yet, research has concluded that driving with hay fever could be the equivalent of driving with a 0.05% blood alcohol level.

Crucially, the law doesn’t distinguish between illegal drugs or prescription or over-the-counter medications, so taking the wrong hay fever tablets could result in a hefty fine and a drug-driving conviction, as well as points on your licence.

As a new driver, you’ve passed your test, got your car insurance sorted, and are set to head out on the road.  Hay fever is probably the last thing on your mind when summer comes around, but it’s important to consider the implications this may have on your driving.

What you can do

Before taking any hay fever medication, discuss with your GP or pharmacist if these might impact on your driving capability.  It tends to be the older types of antihistamines that cause drowsiness, but always read the packaging instructions and get expert advice if you’re not sure.  Avoid opening the car windows when the pollen count is high, and instead, switch on the air conditioning, if your car has it.  Wearing sunglasses or using allergen barrier balms may also help.

Avoid opening the car windows when the pollen count is high, and instead, switch on the air conditioning, if your car has it.  Wearing sunglasses or using allergen barrier balms may also help.Keep tissues in the car and pull over to deal with a fit of the sneezes

Keep tissues in the car and pull over to deal with a fit of the sneezesIf all else fails, head to the seaside, the pollen count is much lower by the sea. 

If all else fails, head to the seaside, the pollen count is much lower by the sea.  Being a new driver out on the road is an exciting freedom to have but along with that comes responsibility, so be sure to always check the packaging and ask for a non-drowsy and long-acting antihistamine formula that doesn’t have a sedative effect if you’re designated driver on your next trip out.

Being a new driver out on the road is an exciting freedom to have but along with that comes responsibility, so be sure to always check the packaging and ask for a non-drowsy and long-acting antihistamine formula that doesn’t have a sedative effect if you’re designated driver on your next trip out.

Lindsay Neal

If you are looking for a great deal on your car insurance, you can find out more about Go Girl Car Insurance by checking out their website at gogirl.co.uk