Pollen is in abundance during springtime, and this is when flowers start to bloom resulting in pollen levels becoming high. To help you to cope better with your hay fever symptoms whilst driving and riding, IAM RoadSmart are on hand with their top tips for hitting the road with hay fever.
A runny nose, headache, and constant sneezing – these are just a few of the symptoms hay fever sufferers deal with during the sunnier months. These symptoms can affect motorists in several ways, and while most of us can’t wait to get outside to enjoy the sunshine, for others, the warmer weather can cause misery.
Here’s some advice from IAM RoadSmart’s Head of Driving and Riding Standards, Richard Gladman, about what you can do to better cope with it before taking to the road.
During the hay fever season, weather reports on TV, radio and in the newspapers provide the latest pollen levels daily. It’s always worth checking before you travel so you can be prepared for the journey ahead, and you can get the latest pollen forecast by visiting the Met Office before you leave.
Ensure your car is clean and dust free and that you operate the air conditioning or ventilation to your advantage, making use of air re-circulation where possible. It’s also important that you change your pollen filter regularly. Keeping doors and windows closed when pollen counts are at their highest is always beneficial.
For anyone who hasn’t been diagnosed with hay fever and is feeling under the weather, avoid driving or riding and arrange to see your GP as soon as possible. What you might think is just a slight cold can become a major distraction – so get it checked before it gets worse
While over the counter or prescription medicines will help with a runny nose and sneezing symptoms, be sure to read the leaflet that comes with it before getting behind the wheel. Some medication may impair your ability to drive safely and could result in you receiving a hefty fine, so it is incumbent on you to make sure you are fit to drive. Always check with your pharmacist or GP to decide what the best course of action is.
While hay fever doesn’t need to be reported to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), under the rules of The Highway Code, you must be fit to drive your vehicle. If you need to get somewhere but don’t feel well enough to drive or ride, then see if someone you know can take you and bring you home again. Whatever you do, don’t take yourself - you may just end up sneezing and travelling up to 50ft with your eyes closed and losing control of your vehicle.
Richard said: “For drivers and riders, a single sneeze can cause you to lose control of your car or bike, putting you in a dangerous position and increasing your risk of being involved in an incident. If you are stopped by the police after taking a hay fever remedy and driving whilst impaired, you could find yourself falling foul of drug driving regulations. Be sure to check the medication thoroughly, make sure you do not exceed the recommended dosage, and see if it is suitable. But most importantly, concentrate on your route to recovery so you can get back onto the road sooner rather than later. If you don’t need to be out on the road, leave the car behind and make alternative arrangements.”