Driving with a cold is as bad as being drunk

Getting behind the wheel with a heavy cold or flu could be as dangerous as driving after four double whiskies

Heavy colds and flu can seriously affect drivers capabilities, putting them and other road users at risk, says new research.

Motor experts found a decrease in driving ability of over 50 per cent when drivers were suffering with the winter virus, the equivalent of having drunk more than four double whiskies.

The report showed reaction times were slashed and sudden braking became much more frequent as drivers are less aware of the surrounding traffic.

‘You shouldn’t drive if you are not feeling well,’ says Halfords winter driving expert Mark Dolphin. ‘If you really must go out, get someone else to take you.’

The study, carried out by Cardiff University’s Common Cold Unit, found that those bunged-up behind the wheel were more than 33 per cent more likely to hit the kerb and their driving ability was only half as good.

PC Steve Rounds of the UK’s Central Motorway Police Group says even the act of sneezing can pose a danger. ‘Sneezing can be very violent, especially with a severe cold and causes the sufferer to close their eyes temporarily,’ he says.

Police warn that drivers getting behind the wheel while suffering from heavy colds and flu could be prosecuted.

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