Hay fever crash risk
ROAD safety experts warn motorists suffering from hay fever risk losing control of their car during a sneezing attack.
Research from Halfords reveals drivers with allergy dice with danger every day while at the wheel as the condition can cause streaming swollen eyes, impairing vision, and repeated sneezing, temporarily forcing the eyes closed.
The high street car accessories, cycling and leisure retailer reveals that more than a quarter of motorists afflicted by hay fever regularly take to the roads.
Twice as many people suffer from hay fever today compared with 20 years ago and, according to the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, the total number of sufferers, currently over ten million people, could triple by 2030.
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Latest analysis from Halfords shows that one in three drivers afflicted by hay fever admit that they have at some point been distracted while behind the wheel because of their symptoms.
A new survey reveals 34 per cent of sufferers say they have momentarily lost concentration while driving because of, "repeated sneezing and/ or streaming, sore, eyes", while one in four motorists with hay fever (26 per cent) think that their driving has been "impaired" by the condition on more than one occasion.
Insurance companies estimate that more than two million UK motorists have had an accident, near miss, or momentarily lost control of their car as a result of sneezing while driving.
Road traffic experts are also warning motorists that driving while suffering from hay fever could, in severe cases, result in prosecution.
PC Steve Rounds, from the Central Motorway Police Group said: "Hay fever can cause frequent sneezing, forcing the sufferer to briefly shut their eyes and vision can also be affected by irritated, streaming eyes. So although I have a lot of sympathy for sufferers, driving while affected in such a way, would be irresponsible and could be held as an aggravating factor in any accident that led to a serious injury, or fatality, and in turn, expose the driver to a charge of causing death by dangerous driving."
He added: "It is also important to be aware of the effects of drowsiness that some medication taken to ease hayfever symptoms can cause and to read warnings on product packaging carefully, before deciding whether or not to drive."
Properly maintained air conditioning systems can be an effective defence for hay fever as pollen filters can help guard against allergies.