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Can spring allergies lead to car accidents?

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Spring is in the air – and, if you’re like a lot of allergy sufferers, you hate it. Waking up to pollen all over your porch, walkway and car isn’t very exciting when you’re sneezing your head off.

Spring marks the beginning of “allergy season” for millions of people. While sneezing, itchy eyes and congestion are common symptoms of seasonal allergies, other, more insidious consequences of allergy season often go overlooked: drugged and drowsy driving.

How do spring allergies turn into drugged and drowsy driving?

The vast majority of people wouldn’t think about getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while they’re intoxicated by drugs or alcohol – but allergy sufferers often turn to over-the-counter medications and unwittingly put themselves and others at risk:

  • Many allergy medications contain antihistamines, which help relieve symptoms like sneezing and itching. However, antihistamines can also cause drowsiness as a side effect. Even “non-drowsy” formulas may still cause some level of sedation, especially in folks with medication sensitivities or those who take higher-than-recommended doses.
  • Nasal decongestants are another common component of allergy medications. While they work to alleviate congestion and improve breathing, they can also have stimulant effects that interfere with someone’s sleep patterns. This can lead to insomnia or disrupted sleep, resulting in drowsiness and fatigue behind the wheel.
  • Sometimes it’s not any one drug that causes the problem, but a combination of medications that create a dangerous situation. Someone may think they’re fine on Claritin or Allegra because they’ve taken it before with no drowsiness or other problematic effects – only to find out the hard way that a new drug their on interacts badly with their allergy meds.

Be careful out there – a lot of drivers may be struggling to focus while they’re on the road right now, and there’s little you can do about the problem except to stay wary. If you are injured in a wreck with a drugged driver, it may help to find out more about your legal options.