Drivers warned of major side effects from hay fever medication which could result in huge £1,000 fine

Drivers warned of major side effects from hay fever medication which could result in huge £1,000 fine

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Hemma Visavadia

By Hemma Visavadia

Published: 15/05/2024

- 13:31

Drivers should avoid using the AC to help prevent hay fever symptoms

Motoring experts have warned drivers who suffer from hay fever about the impact medication can have on their driving ability.

With the summer months around the corner, drivers who suffer from hay fever are being urged to avoid using the air conditioning which could circulate dust and pollen.

Symptoms of hay fever include having itchy eyes or even sneezing at the wheel, both of which could increase the risk of an accident while driving.

To deal with hay fever, many drivers will take antihistamines to alleviate symptoms, but some can affect their motoring ability as they can cause drowsiness.

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Hay fever

Hay fever symptoms can put drivers at risk behind the wheel


Louise Thomas, motor insurance expert at, explained how research found that almost onein five drivers have had an accident or near-miss due to hay fever.

She said: “If you need to take medication, you should be aware of the risks when it comes to driving.

“Some can have a sedating effect, which could impact your driving ability.

“If you need to take medication, always read the label first to check whether it's safe to use alongside driving. Or if you're not sure, speak to a doctor or pharmacist.”

Offering advice to drivers, Thomas added that they should also avoid using the air conditioning as it increases the movement of pollen and dust.

By regularly cleaning the inside of a car it can also help to keep pollen levels low, she stated.

Thomas remarked: “Hay fever affects thousands of drivers and it can be a real pain for those who suffer this time of year.

“But taking the right measures before driving can keep you and other road users safe while on the road.”

Drivers who are affected by hay fever medication could risk facing a £1,000 penalty if their ability to see or react is compromised.

NHS data revealed that the side effects of antihistamines can make people drowsy and sleepy.

It can also impair a driver's reaction speed and judgement, with the NHS suggesting that people should not drive or use machinery after taking those antihistamines.

Recent research also detailed how for drivers who've had an accident or near miss, more than a quarter (27 per cent) said it was because of having delayed reaction or coordination.



Hay fever medication can cause drowsiness


Drivers should consult a GP first if they are unsure about taking medication before getting behind the wheel.

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