Driving while suffering from flu raises risk of road collisions

30-01-2018 11:40

With the number of flu cases rising, drivers and being reminded to think of road safety.

Many drivers are putting themselves and other road users at risk this winter by taking cough and cold remedies that could make them unsafe on the roads, road safety professionals have warned.

Medication bought over the counter in pharmacies, as well as prescription drugs, can lead to drowsiness that is the equivalent of being drunk, it has been claimed.

Motorists taking medication should consult their doctor or pharmacist first. Regrettably too often the warnings on medicine packaging are vague and difficult to find which causes great confusion and can lead to real dangers on our roads.

Previous research in the UK using a driving simulator found that people who drove with heavy colds or flu took 10% longer to react than healthy drivers.

“Safe driving requires concentration and good reactions, both of which are significantly reduced, even by just a mild cold”, says Noel Gibbons, Road Safety Officer with Mayo County Council.

“I would advise drivers suffering from these conditions to avoid getting behind the wheel until they are better.”

If you are not well enough to undertake a journey, it could be life-threatening to both you and other road users.

“Severe bouts of common conditions including colds, flu, migraine, stomach upsets, infections and hay fever can affect a driver’s ability to drive safely.”

“A heavy cold, for example, can have symptoms that include a headache, blocked sinuses, sneezing, and tiredness, and these can impair a driver’s mood, concentration, reactions, and judgment. The dangers posed include driving blind for 65 meters when sneezing at 100kph – and possibly further if sneezing more than once.”

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