Urgent warning issued to drivers as ‘thunder fever’ could result in £5,000 fines
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Drivers have been warned about “thunder fever” and the potential issues it could cause for them on the road. The recent weather has made hay fever and asthma worse for some sufferers, and this could have an impact on their driving, a car insurance company has said.
So-called “thunder fever” is linked to a combination of thunderstorms and elevated pollen counts across the country.
It happens when moisture and lightning brought by the storm shatter pollen that is normally too large to enter the lungs into tiny pieces.
Drivers have therefore been reminded that operating a vehicle while suffering from hay fever symptoms could result in big fines.
That is if symptoms such as sneezing, suffering from a runny nose or watery eyes lead to dangerous driving, WalesOnline reported.
On top of that, the Government’s legislation that bans driving while under the influence does not distinguish between illicit drugs, prescription medication and over-the-counter medications.
This means any type of drug that affects a motorist’s driving abilities could potentially result in a drug-driving conviction, even if it’s something as simple as hay fever medication that causes drowsiness.
One in four people in the UK has hay fever, which equates to approximately 16 million people.
Greg Wilson, the founder of Quotezone.co.uk, said: “The weather has been extreme this summer and driving in the heat alone has been challenging but there are things drivers need to know to avoid risking penalty points or fines and keep themselves safe on the roads.
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“If a storm is predicted look at official flood warnings, avoid roads that are likely to flood and allow more travel time, note drivers may have to pull over and wait it out if the downpour starts to affect your visibility – drivers can be fined if they can’t see clearly out of all windows.”
Mr Wilson added: “Hay fever symptoms can come on unexpectedly and some types of medication do cause drowsiness, or carry a ‘do not operate heavy machinery’ warning.
“If a driver fails to obey this warning and gets behind the wheel, they could risk a hefty fine of up to £5,000, points on their licence and endanger themselves and other road users.”
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Other distractions that could be classed as careless driving include “rubbernecking” at the storm itself or failure to see through the windscreen properly if caught in heavy rain.
Quotezone.co.uk, a leading car insurance comparison website, says if drivers find themselves stuck in the car during a thunderstorm, official advice from the Met Office is to wind up the window and stay inside the vehicle.
The metal frame of the car should act as a conductive Faraday cage, passing the current around the passengers and into the ground, should it be struck by lightning.
However, any damage to cars caused by driving through flash floods that accompany thunderstorms might not be covered by insurance policies.
Quotezone.co.uk warned motorists to carefully check their policy exclusions, and even if routes are partially blocked, drivers should think twice before using waterlogged streets.
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