Don’t let having a cold see you end up behind bars

Your cold could leave you with a nasty fine this autumn.

Drivers have been warned they could be breaking the law if out on the roads after taking cold and flu medicine this autumn.

Giles Spencer, Motoring Correspondent

Motoring experts at Quotezone.co.uk are issuing a warning to drivers to ensure they aren’t taking medication which could impair their ability to drive.

With the cold months fast approaching and children back to school, many are starting to feel the effects of the winter bugs.

But many drivers are unaware of the laws surrounding over-the-counter medication for their illnesses.

Some medicines used to treat cold and flu symptoms are included in drug-drive laws due to their side effects.

In UK law, it is illegal to drive if you have certain levels of illegal drugs in your blood (even if they have not affected your driving) or you’re unfit to do so because you’re on legal or illegal drugs.

Those found driving dangerously under the influence of medication could be handed an unlimited fine, a one-year driving ban, six months in prison and a criminal record.

Additionally, for 11 years afterwards, condemned drivers will have the conviction displayed on their licences, meaning it could be tricky to find an insurance provider willing to insure them and if they do, it will likely be expensive.

It could also mean these drivers have trouble travelling to other countries, such as America.

The warning comes amid reports drug driving convictions are up year on year.

The rise of drug driving has prompted a police crackdown across many UK regions with more motorists being pulled over and asked to take alcohol and drugs tests.

Experts warn that many drivers are una\ware that over-the-counter cold medications can cause dizziness, drowsiness, impaired judgement and slower reaction times.

The NHS strongly advises those who take medications which are prone to drowsiness to avoid driving and operating machinery, so it’s always important to check the labels and understand the potential side effects.

If you are driving and are currently on legal drugs, make sure;

  • You are the one who has been prescribed the medication
  • You are following advice on how to take them by a healthcare professional
  • They are not causing you to be unfit to drive even if you’re above the specified limits

Greg Wilson, Founder and CEO of Quotezone.co.uk said: “You might not think that taking cold and flu tablets could lead to a criminal conviction, but in actual fact, many common over-the-counter drugs have ingredients that could potentially make you drowsy.

“If you’re unwell, it’s imperative to check that what you are taking won’t cause drowsiness or dizziness or any side effects that could impair your ability to drive such as blurred vision or slow reaction times.

“We all feel like we don’t have time to be sick sometimes, lives are just too hectic but driving in an impaired state is very serious, meaning the penalties for doing so can be life-changing.

“Even if you are used to taking the medication in question and it hasn’t previously affected your driving, if you get stopped by police or you’re involved in an incident and your medication has a warning not to operate heavy machinery, you’ll likely still be charged. The safest thing to do is avoid driving, rest up and not take the risk.”

If you have a medical condition and you need specialist car insurance, Quotezone.co.uk can help or CompareNI.com for those living in Northern Ireland.


Pictures: rgbstock.com/gallery/Zela

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