It’s mid-May and the pollen count is soaring. insurethebox, the global pioneer of telematics-based car insurance, warns drivers to check their hay fever medication before getting behind the wheel. With 1 in 5 people in the UK suffering from hay fever[1], many will be reaching for tablets and nasal sprays to keep the symptoms at bay – but some remedies could render them unfit to drive.

95% of hay fever sufferers are allergic to grass pollen[2], and sneezing while driving at high speeds is a serious distraction hay fever sufferers know only too well. While keeping tissues in the car and keeping the windows shut might help, most sufferers also rely on medication to tackle the symptoms – and that’s where the trouble can start.

“Drivers using hay fever medication could experience side-effects that impair their ability to drive safely,” explains Simon Rewell, Road Safety Manager at insurethebox. “Young or new drivers may not realise that the side-effects of over-the-counter medications often include drowsiness, dizziness or nausea. Crucially all drugs, whether prescribed, over the counter or illegal, are covered by the same laws, so driving under the influence carries the risk of a fine or ban. Motorists should take non-drowsy versions of any hay fever remedies and check the literature that comes with the drugs before getting behind the wheel.”

Summer Driving Tips from insurethebox

  • Check the pollen count for the day before you set out.
  • If you are sneezing a lot, pull over until it’s passed.
  • Check the literature that comes with the drugs before getting behind the wheel – look out for side-effects including drowsiness, blurred vision, nausea etc.
  • If you are going to drive, take the non-drowsy versions of any hay fever remedies.
  • If you have taken medication, consider alternative transport and leave the car at home that day.
  • Remember that over the counter drugs are covered by the same laws as illegal drugs when it comes to driving. Don’t take the risk.



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