A high pollen forecast could give hay fever sufferers hitting the road more than tears in their eyes this week, allergy-stricken people are on the record.
While pollen levels are expected to return over the next few days to the very high levels seen a fortnight ago, people with hay fever should also be aware of the dangers of driving when battling their symptoms.
While most drivers know that ‘driving under the influence’ can result in hefty fines of up to £ 5,000 and points on their license, some motorists may be less aware of the risk of committing such an offense without even s ‘report it.
The Road Traffic Act, which covers offenses related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, does not distinguish between illegal drugs, prescription drugs and over-the-counter remedies.
People with swollen red eyes, runny nose, itchy throat or dry cough are asked to check the medications they are taking and their possible side effects before getting behind the wheel of a car.
Alex Kindred, an auto insurance expert with comparison site Confused.com, said, “The pollen count is high, so many motorists will desperately rely on antihistamines to ward off hay fever symptoms. But it’s important to check that our medications aren’t drowsy, or we could be fined or banned from driving, for taking certain medications that affect the ability to drive.
“Some hay fever medications, such as chlorphenamine, hydroxyzine, and promethazine, are known to cause drowsiness as a side effect.”
The financial services site has a driving drug calculator on their website, which describes common side effects associated with various types of medications, not just those used to treat allergies.
With prescription hay fever medications often considerably more potent than over-the-counter remedies, drivers are reminded to also consult their doctor or pharmacist for clarity if they are unsure. which is safe and from those which may have a sedative effect.
Greg Wilson, founder of Quotezone.co.uk, said a “heavy machinery” drug warning applies to cars and drivers who get behind the wheel of their vehicles when they are not safe, which could cause them big problems.
He explained: “Most people assume that the term ‘drug driving’ refers to driving under the influence of illicit narcotics, but the truth is that driving after taking any type of drug could lead to harm. conviction for driving if the driving skills of the motorist are impaired.
“While some hay fever medications are not drowsy, some types cause drowsiness, and some prescription hay fever tablets in particular carry a ‘do not use heavy machinery’ warning. he does not heed this warning and gets behind the wheel, he risks a hefty fine of up to £ 5,000 as well as points on his license. “
Although hay fever is not to be reported to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) – traffic rules require motorists to be able to drive their cars. Therefore, if you are not feeling well or your eyes are particularly watery and you are tired even though you have not taken any medication, you must consider whether it is safe to drive.
Quotezone offers its customers five driving tips if they are suffering from hay fever this summer:
1. Check medications, as antihistamines and hay fever medications may differ in strength. Ask your doctor if in doubt about possible side effects and always read the label. The warning “do not use heavy machinery” is common and applies to cars, forklifts and other heavy machinery.
2. Plan your trips and view the Met Office pollen forecast or download a weather app, which provides a 5-day forecast, for high pollen counts.
3. Don’t take non-emergency trips if you are unwell or have high pollen counts. Play it safe.
4. Keep your car as pollen-free as possible in the summer. Clean up and get rid of any dust that could trigger symptoms, change your car’s ventilation system filters regularly, and keep windows closed during trips to keep as much pollen out as possible.
5. Drive safely – if hay fever symptoms suddenly appear, take a break.