Driving with a cold or flu could be far more dangerous than you realise, accounting for 2,500 accidents per week in the winter months.
According to experts if you have a stuffy head, feel groggy or sneeze your ability to drive could affected as much as alcohol at the drink-drive limit, making you less alert at the wheel.
Research for Lloyds TSB Insurance put 102 drivers with a variety of conditions through an approved hazard simulator test. The results showed that those suffering from colds or flu scored 11% lower than healthy drivers. This is equivalent to drinking a double whisky before getting behind the wheel. Half of the drivers tested believed that illness has no effect on their driving ability.
If you sneeze whilst driving you could travel 50 feet with your eyes closed at just 60mph. This makes sneezing on the motorways a real hazard. Research commissioned by Halfords Autocentres, showed that 9% of drivers admitted to taking their eyes off the road due to a cold or flu. They also found that almost 40% of people struggled to work whilst feeling sick with almost a quarter of drivers feeling unwell whilst at the wheel.
So what is to be done? Points and fines for sneezing are unlikely and people will still drive to work when they are unwell. If you must drive whilst feeling unwell leave an extra four car lengths for braking to accommodate the increase in stopping distance. Proper maintenance of both brakes and tyres will also help to ensure that your vehicle can stop as quickly as possible should you ever need to. Alternatively stay at home until you feel better.
Posted on: 19.02.2013