Nationwide Vehicle Contracts advise how to drive in the summer if you suffer from hay fever.
After a long and cold winter, the first signs of summer arriving always get us in good spirits. The thought of warm temperatures and beer gardens is undoubtedly exciting until you're hit with an industrial bout of hay fever.
According to Allergy UK, 10% and 40% of all adults suffer from hay fever, making day-to-day activities such as driving a nightmare. Frequent sneezing, a runny nose, and watery eyes are just a few of the symptoms, and as they involve the senses, they can massively increase the chances of an accident when on the road.
To make matters worse, more than half of hay fever patients believe their symptoms lead to daytime fatigue and drowsiness, which are not ideal for drivers.
To help keep you on the roads during hay fever season, Nationwide Vehicle Contracts provides top tips on how to drive with hay fever.
According to the NHS, hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen. It typically affects your mouth, nose, throat, and eyes and can lead to symptoms such as:
None of these are ideal, especially when behind the wheel. Hay fever primarily affects your senses, so if you suffer, it will distract you from the road, causing an increased risk for you and other road users.
Therefore, you must know how to deal with hay fever and how to counter the symptoms when behind the wheel.
If you're taking over-the-counter or prescription drugs for hay fever, ensure you check the information leaflet before you get in the car. Certain antihistamines can cause drowsiness and cause you to fail the drug driving test, putting you and other motorists at risk.
Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart's Head of Driving and Riding Standards, states: "Be sure to check the medication thoroughly and see if it's suitable. But most importantly, concentrate on your route to recovery so you can get back onto the road sooner rather than later."
If you want to get the most out of your medication, Holly Shaw, a nurse adviser at Allergy UK, suggests taking your hay fever medication early is the key to tackling pollen when levels peak. If you want more advice on this, seek the help of your GP or local pharmacist.
As mentioned above, some hay fever medications could cause you to fail the drug driving test if pulled over. Motorists convicted of drug driving offences could face a minimum one-year driving ban, an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison, and a criminal record. Make sure you're safe rather than sorry.
Also, while hay fever doesn't have to be reported to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), under the Highway Code, you must be fit to be in charge of your car. Therefore, you must consider the legal implications of whether you're well enough to drive.
If you suffer from severe hay fever, check the pollen count every day you plan on driving. If the Met Office deems the pollen count as high or you feel ill, consider another mode of transport to keep you and other road users safe.
See if a colleague or friend can take you home if you're already out somewhere.
If you suffer from severe hay fever, plan your route to avoid areas with a higher pollen count. Try and stick to urban areas if you can, and avoid country lanes with lots of flowers and crops on each side.
A quick look on Google Maps Streetview should help you plan your journey.
Although you may think your car has nothing to do with hay fever, it actually has a big impact on your symptoms. Most of these are preventable if you know what you're doing:
As well as taking your medication, there are a few extra steps you can take to reduce the symptoms of hay fever:
If you're okay to drive, you'll need to adapt your driving just in case a few symptoms hit:
MEDIAL DISCLAIMER: The information provided is for educational purposes ONLY and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. If you seek more information on hay fever, check out the NHS and the Met Office.