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Cold caution

Be aware that getting behind the wheel with a nasty cold can be as bad as drink-driving. Research by Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre has found that concentration levels when driving with a bad cold or flu drops by more than 50 per cent. Shockingly, that’s the equivalent of downing more than four double whiskies. The symptoms of a cold, including runny nose, headache, tiredness and eye irritation all tend to reduce awareness. The researchers also found that reaction times dropped significantly and sudden braking became more frequent as drivers with bad colds were less aware of their surroundings and less capable of judging distance.