posted 4 years ago

50ft: Terrifying Distance You Drive 'Blind' While Sneezing

Motorists Warned Of Risks Of Being Unwell At The Wheel In Winter

A sneezing motorist can drive as far as 50ft with their eyes closed, according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

This terrifying statistic forms part of a warning from the IAM about the danger of driving while unwell this winter.

Driving blind – even for a brief period - could have significant consequences as the motorist might swerve, fail to notice a hazard, lose control and hit a fellow road user.

The IAM says that a cold or flu might cause a motorist's concentration to fall by more than 50%.

Reaction times could slow too. These factors might cause a motorist to either react suddenly or overreact, perhaps by heavy braking.

The road safety charity claims there are more than 200 cold viruses and 3 flu viruses – and that “most of us” will become ill at some point this winter.

Illness is a particular problem for drivers as they head into winter when colds and flu become more common.

Danger: Medicines To Control Symptoms Could Impede Driving

Symptoms such as sneezing, runny eyes, fever and tiredness can be minimised by non-prescription medicines.

However, the safety charity stresses that some contain codeine. Its potential side effects – although not guaranteed to occur - include blurred vision, tiredness and drowsiness.

The IAM says that if a label says “may cause drowsiness”, assume it will and avoid travelling.

Also, check the side effects of prescription drugs. Consult a GP if necessary.

It is important to note that it is the motorist's legal responsibility to ensure he/she is fit to drive. Even if there is no collision, a motorist that is excessively impeded by prescription or non-prescription remedies can be charged. The consequence might be disqualification.

Germs Spread Easily

The road safety charity also stresses that germs “easily spread”. It claims that “if you’re carrying passengers on your motorcycle or in your car while you’re ill, the likelihood is you’re going to pass on the cold or flu to them.”

This increases the number of ill drivers which makes the roads more dangerous, the Institute argues.

Institute of Advanced Motorists' Advice

The Institute concludes that “winter driving is stressful enough so you should not add to the stress, and compromise yours and others’ safety, when you are ill.

Assess carefully if you are fit to ride or drive, but if you are not then take plenty of rest away from the road”.


Not only sneezes etc - manufacturers are exacerbating this by what they like to call "decluttering", put everything on a central touch screen which takes ten times longer to do what you want as opposed to an old fashioned switch.

I agree with most of this, but the bit about passengers on a motorcycle catching cold or flu from the rider is stretching it a bit. In fact, with helmets, visors and scarves, and gloves the risk is probably minimal.

I don't really get the concern over a sneeze more of a concern should be why car manufacturers put cup holders in the car for you to drink your nice hot!! cup of coffee no forseen dangers there then.

When will everyone really realise that holding a mobile phone & talking on it is an offence & for good reasons. I'd love to have a zapper which would cut off the signal !! Driving round a round-a-bout, parking, just can't believe it. People seem permanently attached to these things !

A sneeze is a reflex action. One may not have any control over it, but phoning, texting and engrossed chatting are criminal acts.

This all sounds very sensible but the phraseology implies that you shouldn't drive at all if not 100%; an impossible ideal. The advice should be "stop and rest" if you feel compromised in any way. Both of my cars will detect erratic driving and caution you which is good but the cars coming out now could be capable of taking over and if appropriate take you off the road. Having stated that, self driven cars could solve a a lot of problems, self driven lorries even more. This is a rhetorical question but can anyone remember not being caught behind an HGV road block as one overtakes another over 2 or 3 miles? Could someone also point out to all road users that those amber flashy things are called indicators and their usage would significantly enhance road safety as would paying attention if they are used.

I don't know about this but the standard of driving here is diabolical. There to many distractions in vehicles now and it's telling with some of the stupid things people are doing. People are paying no attention to other drivers. It's as they are the only person on the road. I think the DSA need a rethink because common sense ihas been taken away,and drivers are clueless. I drive for BP delivering fuel to forecourts across the South East of England,and the things I see everyday is so dangerous.