Drivers who sneeze behind the wheel cause 2,500 accidents a WEEK – now experts say they should stay off the roads
Motorists can travel 50ft blind when sneezingDrivers with severe colds 'should stay off the roads'
Study suggests those with the sniffles should leave four extra car lengths for slower reaction times

Claire Bates


17:00 GMT, 14 February 2013



18:14 GMT, 14 February 2013

Getting behind the wheel when bunged up with a cold is far more dangerous than drivers realise, researchers say.

Sneezing, searching for a tissue and nose blowing are to blame for 2,500 accidents a week in winter.

It's most hazardous on the motorway as drivers can travel 50ft with their eyes closed during a sneeze.

Eyes on the road You can travel 50ft with your eyes closed if you sneeze when driving at 60mph

Eyes on the road You can travel 50ft with your eyes closed if you sneeze when driving at 60mph

Drivers are advised to leave an extra four car lengths for braking to accommodate the increase in stopping distance.

The study, from Halfords Autocentres, showed that nine per cent of the 2.6million drivers on Britain's roads admitted to taking their eyes off the road due to a cold or flu.

PC Steve Rounds, of the Central Motorway Police Group said drivers
feeling unwell should stay at home and not put other road users at risk.

'Sneezing can be very violent, causing the sufferer to close their eyes temporarily, especially with a severe cold.

'Driving a car with such symptoms would certainly be irresponsible and
could be held as an aggravating factor in any accident that led to a
death or serious injury, laying the driver open to a charge of causing
death by dangerous driving,' he warned.

Halfords Autocentres found almost 40 per cent of people had struggled into work
when they had felt sick – resulting in nearly a quarter of drivers
feeling unwell whilst at the wheel during the winter months.

PC Rounds said: 'People need to be aware of any
side-effects of medication and check the packaging for specific
warnings, particularly about drowsiness.'

Latest statistics from the Health
Protection Agency shows the rate of flu running at 13.6 people per
100,000 in England, 53.7 per 100.000 in Northern Ireland, 33.8 per
100,000 in Scotland and 11.2 per 100,000 in Wales.

Rory Carlin from Halfords Autocentres, added icy conditions made driving even more hazardous.

'It's worth remembering that proper maintenance of both brakes
and tyres are vital to ensuring your vehicle can stop as quickly as
possible when you need it to,' he said.