Driving with Allergies

14th April 2022
Driving with Allergies

Drivers with allergies are warned of rising pollen count in the UK

Hay fever season is here, with high pollen counts expected in parts of the UK next week, according to the MetOffice’s hay fever forecast.

Hay fever affects approximately 30% of the UK’s population, and with Brits embarking on road trips over the bank holiday, hay fever sufferers must take steps to prevent their allergies from affecting their ability to drive safely.

In fact, motoring experts at Peter Vardy have revealed that driving while suffering from symptoms of hay fever could land you with a £1,000 fine. According to their latest research, driving while experiencing intense pollen allergy symptoms can be classed as a "failure to have proper control of the vehicle and a full view of the road". 

Craig Forbes, motoring expert at Peter Vardy, says: "Drivers must take responsibility for assessing their own fitness to drive when experiencing symptoms." There are ways to minimise symptoms of hay fever during spring, but if your eyes are extremely watery and you feel unwell, your driving could be impaired and you may wish to consider alternative travel in order to avoid a fine. "

6 tips for safe driving during hay fever season:

To help, Peter Vardy’s motoring experts have revealed six tips for safe driving during hay fever season,  including a handy hack that could keep your sinuses clear while driving:

  1. Plan your journey around the pollen forecast

If you’re planning a road trip and suffer from hay fever, check the weather and pollen forecast. The Met Office forecast is updated throughout the hay fever season and provides an early warning when the pollen count is predicted to be high.

If they’re reporting high pollen counts and you’re worried about your ability to drive, consider alternative travel plans or ask someone else to drive.

  1. Use essential oils on your air freshener

To make your time in the car during hay fever season that little bit more pleasant, consider using an in-car diffuser and using drops of essential oils to combat your symptoms.

Lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus all have anti-inflammatory properties and can unblock stuffy noses naturally. If you don’t have an in-car diffuser, drop the oils on an old air freshener and hang it near your air conditioning vent to reap the same benefits.

  1. Take non-drowsy allergy medication

If you have purchased over-the-counter medication, always check the information leaflet as to whether you should drive or not. If it states that a side effect may be drowsiness, err on the side of caution and do not get behind the wheel.

Non-drowsy medications can be taken to alleviate hay fever symptoms, but always ask your GP or pharmacist if you are in any way unsure about driving.

  1. Clean your car

It’s important to clean your car regularly throughout pollen season, so as to get rid of any pollen particles that make their way into the vehicle. Use your vacuum and duster to get rid of any pollen dust on your dashboard and seats. Doing so will prevent the build-up of pollen inside the car that can worsen your symptoms.

  1. Keep car windows closed

Closing your windows while driving not only prevents pollen from being directly blown into the cabin, but also from flying into your eyes and impairing your vision.

  1. Avoid rural locations

Try to pick a route that doesn’t include driving through rural locations. Hay fever symptoms can be exacerbated in the countryside, most likely due to open spaces blowing around pollen and thus affecting those who are allergic more severely. 

If your destination is in a rural area, consider opting for a different destination or asking someone else to drive for the duration of your staycation. 

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