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Hay fever a hazard for motorists

18 May 2012 at 17:25

Road safety experts are warning the onset of hay fever in the coming summer months could prove dangerous for motorists.

It perhaps sounds far fetched, but a violent sneezing attack brought on by a nasty strain of pollen could cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle, endangering both their own and other road users’ safety.

Research from Halfords, collected by placing an ‘allergy dice’ in subjects’ cars, suggests 27 per cent of drivers in the UK suffer from streaming and swollen eyes, a runny nose and repeated sneezing. These are all factors that take your attention away from the road.

One in three drivers openly admit to being distracted by hay fever, while a quarter of motorists reckon their driving has been impaired by the allergy on more than one occasion.

Car insurance companies are starting to become interested in the seasonal condition too. Staggeringly, it’s thought over 2 million drivers have had an accident, near miss or experienced a loss of control over their vehicle as a direct result of hay fever.

The condition affects younger drivers hardest, with almost 50 per cent of motorists between 18 and 25 suffering from the complaint. As this less experienced age group is already statistically most likely to be involved in an accident, it’s important to keep concentrating behind the wheel if you’re an adolescent driver.

There are a number of remedies that can help, but if you’re going to take relief, make sure it’s of the non-drowsy form, otherwise it’ll be out of the frying pan and into the fire for your concentration levels.

But if you’ve got a car with air conditioning and suffer from an allergy to pollen, you could be in luck. A properly maintained air-con system is an effective defence for hay fever sufferers, as built-in pollen filters create a fortified barrier against organic spores.

Odd, then, that only two per cent of Halfords Autocentres’ customers ask them to check and maintain their air conditioning systems, according to Marketing Director, Roy Carlin.