As the hayfever season starts to kick in, a survey has found an alarming level of ignorance and complacency about the dangerous effects of many prescription and over-the-counter medications on driving
The survey by Brake and Direct Line has found that one in six drivers admit either ignoring warnings not to drive or not checking the label at all.
The findings come as the pollen count starts to soar at the start of the hayfever season, and hayfever medication is one of the most common drugs that can impair driving.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: “It’s not just illegal drugs that make you unsafe to drive; legal, over-the-counter and prescription drugs can make you a danger too, to yourself and others. This widespread lack of awareness among drivers is alarming, suggesting many are unwittingly posing a threat to safety on our roads.
“It’s a particular concern at this time of year, when huge numbers of people will be using hayfever medicines, some of which can be risky if you drive. All drivers have a responsibility to ensure they are fit to drive when getting behind the wheel, including not drinking alcohol, ensuring their eyesight is up to scratch, and making sure their medication is safe to drive on. If it isn’t, you need to stop driving or seek an alternative medication.”
The survey found that: almost half (44%) of drivers who use hayfever medication admit sometimes or never checking the instructions to see if it will affect their driving ability; three in 10 (30%) of drivers are unaware some hayfever and allergy medications can impair your ability to drive; and lack of awareness is higher among men (39%) than women (23%).
Analysing the results further, Rob Miles, director of car insurance at Direct Line, said: “With one in ten drivers admitting they have driven after taking medication that potentially affects their driving in the past year, it’s vital that they don’t drive while the medication is having an effect on their vision or reaction times.
“We’re calling on drivers to stay safe and take alternative transport if their doctor or medication instructions advise them not to drive.”