It is that time of year again…colds, coughs and seasonal illnesses are rife. But have you ever stopped to think about whether having a cold effects your driving performance?
Well this is just the question that has been posed and answered by a group of researchers from Cardiff and Leeds Universities.
In an article for the British Medical Journal the researchers put forward the hypothesis that people with a cold show impairments in collision detection and other aspects of simulated driving. Through their investigations they found that:
- Drivers with a common cold respond more slowly to unexpected events and drive too close to the car in front.
- Collision detection is impaired when a person has a cold
The finding that having a common cold reduces a drivers ability to detect collisions and respond quickly to unexpected events is of practical importance and the authors go on to suggest that further research is required to examine the efficacy of information campaigns and countermeasures such as caffeine.
A small scale study such as this can not be definite, but these preliminary findings do suggest that further work is needed to better understand the effect of the common cold on driving.
In the meantime, this study provides yet an0ther reminder of how important it is for drivers to consider how any medical, health or other impairments maybe effecting their driving performance and safety on the roads.