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”.