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Driving with hay fever: tips from IAM RoadSmart

A sneeze or sniffle has a way of creeping up on you, especially when you least expect it.  Hay fever seems to affect many of us. This week’s tips give advice on riding and driving with hay fever, from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.

  • Keep your car clear of dust and pollen by vacuuming carpets, mats and upholstery; this will help reduce the problem. Check to see if there is a pollen filter available for your car - if you have one installed, does the filter need changing?


  • Keeping your windows closed and setting your air-conditioning to recycle will reduce pollen concentrations in your vehicle. Give the vents a good blow through with cold air when you are not in the car to remove any dust that may be in them


  • Taking the right non-drowsy medication is vital - charging into the chemist with an itchy nose, and eyes running to pick up the nearest antihistamines can be costly and could cause drowsiness. Always read the label, or better still ask the pharmacist


  • Keep tissues close by to avoid taking your eyes off the road.Putting a few dabs of Vaseline inside your nostrils will also aid in trapping pollen


  • Slow down or drop back from the vehicle in front if you think you're going to sneeze. If you can do it safely, stop. If you are one to have a sneezing fit we recommend finding an appropriate place to stop and allow yourself to recover


  • Wearing sun glasses can help – but make sure they don’t have a negative impact on your vision through windows that are already tinted

Richard said: “If you are struggling to see and sneezing as well, you can’t be safe on the road. Visit your pharmacist or GP to see if they can offer driver-friendly medication. Here is a link so you can check your medication effects . If in doubt stay off the road and look for another mode of transport.”

  1. Richard Gladman is IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards.
  2. IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

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