Hay fever season is upon us and while sufferers concern themselves with minimising the effects, road safety professionals are issuing advice to those who want to get behind the wheel.
Motorists are being warned that not only can a sneezing fit be dangerous on the road, hay fever drugs can also be risky. Experts say that cold and flu treatments, pain killers, antihistamines and some eye drops can all cause drowsiness. People are also being reminded that 'driving under the influence of drugs, even those prescribed by a doctor, is a serious criminal offence.'
Noel Gibbons, road safety officer for Mayo County Council said: “Many motorists don’t realise the effect that prescription or over-the-counter medication can have on their driving. With hay fever season in kicking off, there could be many people breaking the law without realising.'
He added that 'the same road traffic laws apply to therapeutic drugs as to illicit substances, so if your driving is impaired and you cause a collision, you risk prosecution and the loss of your licence.'
The following tips have been issued to advise those who may be affected:
- Keep windows closed whilst driving, as pollution exacerbates hay fever – pollen grains become attached to particles from car exhausts, increasing their allergy-inducing effect.
- Avoid going outdoors in early evening when the pollen counts are usually highest.
- Wear wrap-around sunglasses, or glasses, when outdoors or behind the wheel.
- Check your car’s ventilation system to ensure a clean air flow.
- Ensure the air-con is checked annually, to help keep dust, moisture and pollen to a minimum.
- Vacuum your car regularly and clean surfaces with a damp cloth.
- Non-sedative anti-histamine tablets and nasal steroid sprays can be taken regularly, starting at least two weeks before the hay fever season starts.
- Ensure any medication you take is non-drowsy before you drive.
- Don’t allow pets to travel in the car as exposure to allergens, such as animal hairs and house dust mites, can exacerbate hay fever.