Why A cold is as bad for your driving as a couple of whiskies

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Why A cold is as bad for your driving as a couple of whiskies

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:43 pm

Driving with a bad cold or flu can be as dangerous as drink-driving, a report reveals today.
Symptoms such as a stuffed-up head, grogginess and sneezing have the same impact on our abilities as a level of alcohol close to or at the drink-drive limit.
The effects would comfortably exceed those of the lower drink-drive limit in place on the Continent which campaigners want to introduce into the UK.

Not to be sneezed at: Flu makes us less alert at the wheel
One in ten road accidents in 2008, or 125,000, can be attributed to colds or flu, the report says.
And experts are predicting a significant rise in such incidents over the next few months as cold and flu pandemics grip the nation.
The research for Lloyds TSB Insurance put 102 drivers with a variety of conditions, including PMT, stress, and headaches, through an approved hazard simulator test.
Those with a headache, stress or PMT achieved a score 4 per cent below normal for reaction times and alertness.
But those suffering from colds and flu came off the worst, scoring 11 per cent lower than healthy drivers.
This impairment is the equivalent of downing a double whisky before getting behind the wheel.
Yet despite the risks, public awareness of the problem is low, with 38 per cent of volunteers admitting that they have driven while suffering from cold or flu.
Half of these drivers believe that the illness has no affect at all on their driving ability.
In response, Lloyds TSB Insurance is warning drivers of the dangers of being unwell at the wheel, particularly when combined with medication, fatigue or a small amount of alcohol.
Company spokesman Paula Llewellyn said: 'Our research proves that getting behind the wheel when ill causes thousands of accidents every year.
'This serves as a double warning for drivers - firstly, try to avoid driving if you're suffering from cold or flu and, secondly, be prepared for other drivers' irresponsibility by making sure you are comprehensively insured.'
Dr Dawn Harper, who is supporting the campaign, added: 'Safe driving requires concentration and good reactions, both of which are significantly reduced, even by just a mild cold.

‘I would advise drivers suffering from these conditions to avoid getting behind the wheel until they are better.’

The report says: ‘Simulator participants suffering from a cold scored on average 11 per cent lower than the control sample.’

‘This decline in performance is similar to the effect of two units of alcohol (or blood alcohol concentration of 0.05-0.065mg/100ml).’

The legal blood alcohol limit in Britain is 0.08mg/100ml. On the Continent it is 0.05mg.

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