The seasonal side effects of hay fever can send us running to the chemist for remedies to stem a runny nose and sneezing bouts. But be sure to check whether these could affect your driving ability.
A runny nose, headache and constant sneezing – these are just a few of the symptoms hay fever sufferers deal with during the summer. And these symptoms can affect motorists in a number of ways.
So here’s some seasonal tips from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, about ways to cope with it BEFORE taking to the road.
1/ Try to minimise the effects by ensuring your car is clean and dust free and that you operate the air conditioning or ventilation to your advantage, making use of air re-circulation where possible. If your air conditioning system isn’t doing its job well enough, get it checked well in advance of the pollen season and get this topped up by your local garage.
2/ For anyone who hasn’t been diagnosed with hay fever and is feeling under the weather, avoid driving or riding and arrange to see your GP as soon as possible. What you might think is just a slight cold can become a major distraction – so get it checked before it gets worse.
3/ While over-the-counter medicines will help with a runny nose and sneezing symptoms, a lot of these tend to contain codeine, which can blur vision and make you feel drowsy – check with your GP what the best course of action is.
4/ Your GP may advise you to take anti-histamines to control the symptoms, but make sure you take the non-drowsy ones. If you’re unsure, read the leaflet or speak to your pharmacy for more advice.
5/ If you need to get somewhere but don’t feel well enough to drive or ride then see if someone you know can take you and drop you back. Whatever you do don’t take yourself – you may just end up sneezing and travelling up to 50ft with your eyes closed and losing control of your vehicle!
Richard said: “If you are stopped by the police after taking a hay fever remedy and driving whilst impaired you could find yourself falling foul of drug driving regulations.
“Be sure to check any medication thoroughly and see if it is suitable. But most importantly, concentrate on your route to recovery so you can get back onto the road sooner rather than later.”