According to Professor Russell Foster, a neuroscientist at Oxford University, an underlying health issue can seriously and dangerously compromise our concentration when driving.
People who snore in their sleep can nod off at the wheel. According to research, snoring is caused when the muscles in the throat relax. If the throat closes completely, you stop breathing for a couple of seconds, and the brain realising it is being starved of oxygen, forces you to wake up. this can happen up to 100 times a night disrupting the sleep cycle. This is termed sleep apnoea syndrome, the effect of which is feeling tired all day which can day make you fall asleep at the wheel, especially on long journeys.
A heavy cold or flu can drop our concentration when driving by more than 50% according to research at Cardiff University, which is equivalent to downing more than four double whiskies. Sneezing can also make a driver drive blind for up to 50 feet. An increasing number of adults are developing hay fever for the first time which may cause them to sneeze uncontrollably which is a driving hazard, in particular on a motorway, as we tend to close our eyes when we sneeze.
Medication can even affect driving – in particular, anti-histamine and codeine can cause drowsiness hence slow reaction times, low concentration levels and blurry eyesight.
If you have an accident and only discover afterwards it was due to an underlying health issue, you may lose your licence or worse. It is your responsibility to ensure you are healthy enough to drive.
Safe driving from Britannia!