Hay fever is horrible. And while hay fever tablets can ease your symptoms, making it possible for you to enjoy the warmer weather, they can come with some side effects. You should therefore take care when taking hay fever tablets if you also plan on driving.
Is it Legal to Drive After Taking Hay Fever Tablets?
Some hay fever tables are stronger than others. And if you drive while taking certain types of hay fever tablets, it could get you banned from driving. It simply says that it’s illegal to drive if you’re unfit to do so because you’re on drugs. And this extends to prescription and over-the counter medicines.
When it comes to UK driving law, the government does not really differentiate between legal and illegal drugs. If the police think you’re driving on drugs, they can stop you and do a “field impairment assessment”. They might ask you to walk in a straight line, or they might use a roadside drug kit to test you for certain substances.
If the police think you are unfit to drive because you’re on drugs, they will arrest you – even if the drugs are completely legal!
The penalties for drug driving are harsh. You could get a minimum 1 year driving ban, an unlimited fine, a criminal record and up to 6 months in prison. Also, for a period of 11 years, your driving licence will show that you have a drug driving conviction. This may increase the price of your car insurance.
Hay fever Tablets and Driving – What Should I Do?
Not all hay fever tablets induce drowsiness and other side effects that can affect your driving. So the first thing you should do is talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your hay fever tablets. Ask them about any possible side effects, and ask whether they can recommend any non-sedating alternatives.
For over-the-counter tablets, read the list of side effects – if you’ve not done so already! They might say something about drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision or confusion. Or they might advise you not to drive having taken them.
If they do advise against driving, then you should either stop taking them, or avoid driving. As we explored above, the penalties for drug driving are severe. It’s best not to take the risk.
If you need to keep taking hay fever tablets and you’re worried about driving, particularly if you are a first time driver, then speak to your doctor or pharmacist about alternative non-drowsy tablets or consider taking public transport as an alternative. You could also ask others to drive you wherever possible.
Other Driving Tips for Hay Fever Sufferers
If you suffer from hay fever and you need to drive, consider looking for alternatives to taking hay fever tablets.
Avoid opening your car windows in the spring and summer. Instead, use your air con or climate control. This will allow cool air to circulate in your car while reducing the amount of pollen that gets in.
You could also buy a pollen filter for your car. It’s a simple bit of kit that will filter any pollen in the air before it enters your cabin. For more information, check our guide to pollen filters and driving with allergies.