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Driving when you're feeling unwell

This week’s tips from the IAM’s director of standards, Mark Lewis, are looking at the challenges motorists face when they’re unwell. With over 200 common cold viruses, the chances of us getting a cold are pretty high. Don’t just ignore the symptoms and be sure to read these essential tips.

  1. Driving or riding with a heavy cold will severely impact your concentration and can slow down your reaction time by up to 50 per cent – avoid making the journey if you’re feeling unwell.
  2. Some over-the-counter medicines contain codeine which can make you feel extremely drowsy and blur your vision – check the instructions beforehand. It’s also best to check with your GP about any prescription drugs and their side-effects.
  3. At 30mph you travel 13 metres every second. If you sneeze therefore that means you’re travelling with your eyes closed – this could result in temporary loss of control of your vehicle.
“We know winter driving is challenging enough as it is, so try not to add more stress to it by compromising yours and others’ safety when you are ill. Taking plenty of rest away from the road is the ideal route to recovery.

Notes to editors:

  1. Mark Lewis is the IAM’s director of standards.
  2. The IAM is the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, dedicated to improving standards and safety in driving and motorcycling. The commercial division of the IAM operates through its occupational driver training company IAM Drive & Survive. The IAM has more than 200 local volunteer groups and over 90,000 members in the UK and Ireland. It is best known for the advanced driving test and the advanced driving and motorcycling courses. Its policy and research division offers advice and expertise on road safety.


Media contacts:

IAM Press Office – 020 8996 9777