Hayfever: An Unexpected Driving Hazard

Tuesday, 02 July 2013

It seems that 'stopping to smell the roses' is something that drivers with hayfever certainly shouldn't be doing this summer, as a new survey has revealed that the common condition can be a surprisingly serious driving distraction.

According to the survey by Opticrom, which spoke to more than 2,000 drivers, more than half of motorists found that the ravages of hayfever had an impact on their driving.

55% of drivers said they had been distracted by watery eyes and blurred vision while they were on the road, and some said that bouts of sneezing brought on by the pesky pollen were so bad that they led directly to an accident - and that's nothing to be sniffed at.

This is an issue that's likely to become increasingly relevant to the UK population in the summers ahead. Leading pollen expert Dr. Jean Emberlin calculates that the number of hayfever sufferers in the UK will double to 31.8 million, almost half of the UK population, by 2030.

But how can we minimise the effects of hayfever? Dr. Emberlin suggests that wrap-round sunglasses can help to keep pollen out of the eyes, and when defences are breached, eye drops can alleviate the symptoms.

There are also minor measures you can take when you're on those winding country roads. Emberlin advises drivers to "avoid opening windows in cars, using air conditioning when hot if possible, and avoid going out when the pollen count is high.”

It's timely advice too, as the Opticrom survey found that June is usually the worst month for sufferers. 63% of survey respondents point to worse symptoms during the month. If you're anything like the average citizen though, the symptoms of hayfever should be all but gone by September, when only 23% of people claim to still have symptoms.

If you're concerned about hayfever, you can check the pollen count on the Met Office website before heading out - and if you're really suffering, it may be wise to seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist.

Whether you're a hayfever sufferer or not, it's important to minimise in-car distractions and protect yourself in the event of an accident with the right level of car cover. To find out whether you could save on your car cover with Swiftcover, why not request a car insurance quote online?

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