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Hay Fever – raising temperatures amongst drivers

The British weather may not be sizzling, but the heavy rainfall is set to raise the pollen levels to unprecedented levels. This means that sufferers will be sneezing all the more – and this could adversely affect driving.

Some 700,000 British drivers will suffer from hay fever whilst driving in their commute to and from work, and with pollen levels set to rise, they may find their allergic symptoms much worse than usual. Research has shown that drivers who suffer from hay fever will have their eyes closed for 60 seconds on any given 45 minutes drive* this summer as they battle against severe bouts of sneezing and streaming eyes – which will affect their reaction times and awareness of other drivers' movements around them.

Most sufferers turn to antihistamine based drugs to control the symptoms, but over 1.7 million 'dosed up drivers' confess to suffering from dizziness, drowsiness, blurry vision and slower reaction times when taking these drugs. Even though there are non-drowsy medications available, mainly motorists still purchase the 'drowsy' products – and worryingly, over 3.5 million motorists have admitted to having had an accident or near miss as a result of driving having taken medication.

Fits of sneezing brought on by hay fever can be controlled by taking medication, but it has to be the right, non-drowsy type. Sufferers need to take advice from pharmacists as to the correct type of over the counter medication and choose one appropriate to their lifestyle and needs. This is paramount when considering the safety of other road users – feeling sleepy whilst driving is highly dangerous, as are uncontrolled sneezing fits.

It is worth bearing in mind the following points:

> Medication which contains chlorphenamine are notorious for making people drowsy – and many over the counter hay fever remedies contain this
> Always read the label and follow the dosage instructions
> Remember that medication can stay in your system for us to 12 hours
> If you take any medication about which you are unsure – DO NOT DRIVE

Driving whilst under the influence of drugs or drink is obviously illegal and this also applies to medication – that's both prescription and non-prescription drugs. Be careful what you take as ignorance is not viewed as mitigation.

Whether you are unlucky enough to be involved in an accident caused by someone else, or you yourself are the cause, you will need to make sure you are fully insured. There have been accidents where drivers have taken their foot off the brake and shot forward – or hit their brake and come to abrupt stop: either way, it is an expensive sneeze! There are things you can't factor in to insurance – and a sneeze is one of them – but you can make sure your accident insurance for your vehicle is up to date and sufficient.

Westhill Insurance Services has a team of friendly and knowledgeable professionals who can advise you on every aspect of vehicle insurance – and as an independent company, they can shop around to find you the best possible deal. No matter what vehicle you have, or whatever you need to insure against, Westhill Insurance Services will give you first class insurance at a price you can afford: at least you won't need sleeping tablets to get you through the night as you worry about your insurance – nor need tranquilisers when you receive the quote – so you can keep the tablets in the medicine cupboard instead!

*12.5% of a representative sample of 1,000 British motorists suffer from hay fever stated they will sneeze 13.5 times in any given 5 minute period. With a typical person involuntarily closing their eyes for 0.5 seconds each time they sneeze, it is estimated that the 12.5% of motorists will have their eyes closed for a total of 60.75 seconds during a 45 minute car journey.

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 6th May, 2012