May 22, 2011 19:20 ET

How Hayfever Could Affect Your Car Insurance Quotes

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - May 22, 2011) - As the pollen count starts to rise, Swinton Insurance is warning hayfever sufferers that taking certain medication while driving could lead to prosecution or losing their licence.

The Road Traffic Act does not distinguish between illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or over the counter remedies so taking certain hay fever tablets or medicine could result in a drug-driving conviction and a fine of up to £5000.

Swinton Insurance, the UK's leading high street retailer of car insurance, surveyed 1,200 online customers and found that 21% of customers weren't aware that taking hayfever medication whilst driving could possibly incur a penalty for drug-driving. A further 18% would happily take hay fever medication and drive without having read the packaging.

Swinton is reminding motorists that some hay fever medicines can cause side effects which can impair driving such as drowsiness, dizziness and confusion. It's important that drivers are aware of the strength and dosage of the medication they are taking before getting behind the wheel and that they acknowledge warnings and instructions on the packaging as they are there for a reason.

Some hayfever medication may advise users 'not to take if operating heavy machinery'. Surprisingly, 13% of motorists did not associate driving a vehicle with 'operating heavy machinery.' Instead, they only listed cranes, fork lift trucks and factory machinery as items they consider to be 'heavy'.

The symptoms of hayfever alone can also be hazardous whilst driving as many sufferers have itchy, watery eyes and nose; loss of concentration and repeated sneezing attacks. Swinton is asking motorists to access the severity of their symptoms before driving anywhere, and if the symptoms are too aggressive to consider an alternative mode of transport.

Steve Chelton, Insurance Development Manager at Swinton says, "It's important that motorists are aware of the serious implications of taking any form of medication when they are behind the wheel. People should definitely pay more attention to medication packaging warnings because they are there for a reason. Whether the drugs are illegal, prescribed, or over-the-counter, the repercussions are the same. Losing or having points added to your licence can cause your car insurance quotes to rise considerably."

About Swinton

  • With 603 branches nationwide Swinton is the UK's largest high street insurance retailer
  • Unlike many other companies in the financial services industry, Swinton is committed to keeping its branches open for business, and part of the community
  • Swinton provides a one-stop-shop for the insurance and related needs of its clients, offering home, car, caravan, business, holiday, motorbike and even classic car insurance
  • With a dedicated team of advisors on hand at every branch to search a panel of insurers to offer quality cover at competitive rates.

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