Anyone unlucky enough to experience hay fever is no doubt struggling with symptoms this week as meteorologists warn of grass pollen being at its height.
With this in mind, IAM RoadSmart has urged motorists to carefully consider how both their allergies and the medicines they take to alleviate them might affect their driving.
Not something to be sneezed at
Richard Gladman, head of driving and riding standards at the organisation, suggested people may need to take extra precautions before they hit the road, such as carefully cleaning the inside of their vehicle and changing the pollen filter regularly if it has one.
This should help to prevent a build-up of symptom-inducing allergens in the cabin.
The expert also warned that some hay fever medications – such as those that include antihistamines – can cause drowsiness, so it is vital to check the labels first and opt for non-drowsy versions if possible.
“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,” Mr Gladman pointed out.
Finally, he warned that if sneezing fits do prove to be extreme, motorists should organise other forms of transport rather than driving. Each sneeze can result in a vehicle travelling up to 50ft with no control, so this may be essential for the protection of the driver and other road users.
Should one occur after already setting off, leave plenty of space between your car and the vehicle in front and pull over if it is safe to do so.
According to the NHS, 20 per cent of us suffer from hay fever, a figure that is predicted to double by 2030. The UK is currently tied with Sweden for the most hay fever sufferers in the world.
Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, comments: “Hay fever might seem like a relatively minor ailment, but it can be serious for drivers. We’d urge everyone to heed this advice – and we hope the pollen dies down soon for those of you currently suffering.”