How drivers with hayfever can stay safe behind the wheel

How drivers with hayfever can stay safe behind the wheel

Hayfever season is here and it means drivers up and down the UK will once again be suffering from symptoms.

These include sneezing, itchy or watery eyes and a runny nose. AllergyUK estimates that up to 20 per cent of the UK’s population is affected by hayfever, leaving many motorists to deal with the effects while behind the wheel.

However, some treatments for hayfever can have side effects which could hamper a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle properly. It’s why GEM Motoring Assist has issued some key advice on how hayfever sufferers can stay safe when driving.


Always check the labels on any medication you’re taking for hayfever. If it says that a medicine will cause drowsiness, don’t drive.

Bank Holiday getaway
Traffic builds up on the M3 southbound heading towards the coast, at Winchester, in Hampshire, ahead of the May bank holiday weekend and warnings of a surge in traffic on the roads over the bank holiday weekend as temperatures hot up. Picture date: Friday May 28, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story TRANSPORT BankHoliday. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Over the counter

Just because your medicine isn’t an over-the-counter type, it could still cause drowsiness. Again, it’s best to read the label and double-check.

Look for alternatives

If you need to drive but a particular medicine you have causes drowsiness, then it’s best to ask a pharmacist about alternatives. There are all manner of natural remedies for hayfever and these shouldn’t impair your ability to drive.


If you’ve got any concerns about a particular drug and its effects on you, then always consult a doctor or pharmacist. It’s always better to ask rather than try a drug and see. They’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.


As with any type of drug, be particularly careful if you’re trying out a new hayfever medicine for the first time.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth said: “The arrival of hay fever can herald weeks of misery for millions, with the guarantee of unpleasant symptoms such as frequent sneezing, itchiness and sleep problems that can make everyday life hard.

“Every sneeze brings a couple of seconds where you won’t be able to concentrate on your driving, while inflamed or itchy eyes reduce the quality of your vision.

“Sufferers will often find it hard to concentrate on driving if they’re deprived of good sleep and are distracted by the need to deal with these symptoms.

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