Star warns drivers to avoid cold crashes

DRIVERS could be at risk of accidents this winter due to the symptoms of the common cold and the affects of medication taken to relieve them, according to a new survey.

DRIVERS could be at risk of accidents this winter due to the symptoms of the common cold and the affects of medication taken to relieve them, according to a new survey.

Nearly a fifth of motorists surveyed revealed their driving had been affected by feeling under the weather from a cold or medicine in the last 12 months, the survey from Privilege Insurance found.

The news comes two days after The Evening Star launched a Light Up, Belt Up and Shut Up campaign calling for drivers to be more responsible.

In the survey, ten per cent of drivers admitted losing concentration at the wheel because they were unwell, yet a quarter said they rarely or never checked the side-effects of their medication before getting behind the wheel.

As many as 80pc said they would amend their behaviour if they knew a medicine they were taking might affect their driving. A quarter would not drive at all and more than a third would not take anything until they had finished driving.

Kate Syred, Privilege Insurance's marketing and commercial director, said: “Medicines are clearly labelled for a reason, and those drivers who aren't taking the time to check for side-effects could be putting themselves and other road-users at risk.

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“On the plus side, it seems that the majority of drivers do take heed of warnings once they are aware of them.”

Already this year there has been 36 deaths on Suffolk roads and our new campaign aims to raise awareness of the dangers on the roads.

In particular, drivers are being urged to use their lights in the early morning and teatime darkness, to always wear their seatbelts and to never use handheld mobile phones when driving but the latest results on the dangers of the common cold and the medication people take to alleviate them show they could also pose a danger.

Weblink: www.suffolkroadsafe.net; www.privilege.com

N Do you think Suffolk's roads are safe? Should drivers be acting more responsibly? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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