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Driving and drug peril.

Byline: By Steve Hughes

Popping pills to ward off the symptoms of common colds could put millions of drivers at risk of accidents this winter. This is the warning from Privilege Insurance following research into medicines and driving habits.

With more than half of British motorists likely to take to the roads while feeling under the weather or on medication, almost a fifth say their driving has been adversely affected as a result during the past 12 months.

One in 10, which is the equivalent of 3.3 million drivers, lost concentration at the wheel due to an impaired reaction caused by illness or medication.

Despite the side effects, such as drowsiness, that everyday cold or flu remedies can have, a quarter of drivers say they rarely or never check the side effects of their remedies before setting off.

A third said they believed there was nothing wrong with driving while on this type of medication.

However, 80% of drivers said they would change their behaviour if they discovered a medicine that they were about to take might affect their driving.

A third said that they would delay taking the medicine until after having driven and a quarter would not drive at all. Privilege Insurance marketing and commercial director Kate Syred, says: "Medicines are clearly labelled for a reason and those drivers who are not taking the time to check for side effects could be putting themselves and other road users at risk. Thankfully it seems that the majority of drivers do take heed of warnings once they are aware of them."

Driving when affected by medicines may increase the risk of causing an accident, which could result in a motorist getting points on their licence or losing it altogether.
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 3, 2006
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