Driving with a cold as dangerous as being drunk

With a bad cold or the flu our concentration drops by more than 50%.

You might think you’re a responsible driver who avoids drink-driving and always keep to the letter of the law when it comes to getting behind the wheel of a car.


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But you may not know that keeping to speed limits isn’t the only thing you need to worry about.

Your health and well-being could be compromising your safety behind the wheel without you even realising.

Professor Russell Foster, a neuroscientist at Oxford University, said: “Driving requires our full concentration.”

Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre has revealed that with a bad cold or the flu our concentration when driving drops by more than 50%, making us hazards.

This is the equivalent of downing more than four double whiskies.

This lower concentration means decreased reaction times, more chance of dangerous and sudden braking, poorer spatial awareness and motorists being less observant of their surroundings.  

Professor Foster says: “If there’s an underlying health issue, concentration can be seriously — and dangerously — compromised. 

“Driving on a motorway can exacerbate the problem as it can be extremely monotonous, particularly if people are already tired.”


  1. Most people today don’t have 100% of their attention on the road as they should. You only have to follow a Spanish car with two occupants to see them chatting away and the driver paying scant attention to the road.
    On top of that there is the curse of the mobile phone with people chatting and even texting while driving. By comparison having a cold is nothing.


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