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Austin Allergy Season and Drowsy Driving Prevention Week: What’s the Connection?

This week, November 2 – 9, has been designated as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, an annual campaign that strives to educate the public on a driving hazard that is often overlooked—driving while drowsy.

This driving hazard is even more dangerous in Austin because of something that, while annoying, is not usually deemed dangerous—allergy season.

Why is this? Antihistamines, commonly taken for allergies, have an intense sedative affect on the brain. Studies have shown that driving performance is significantly impaired by these medicines, which are often taken daily or with ever more frequency by allergy sufferers.

An article in the Huffington Post provides a personal story of a family affected by drowsy driving. In it, the late Linda Burkhardt’s family calls for stricter punishments for those who get behind the wheel in a less-than-alert state. Antihistamines in the system, in an accident, can prove just as dangerous as alcohol or other drugs.

The takeaway from this is a simple, yet important message—only get behind the wheel of a car if you are alert and clear-headed. Second, catch up on sleep! Sleep depravation is harmful in both the short term and the long term. Finally, if you are injured in an accident with a drowsy driver at fault, let us help you recover and take action.


Image via Huffington Post