UK drivers who suffer from hayfever and/or asthma have been warned over issues that could lead to fines of up to £5,000 amid Met Office weather warnings.

The Met Office has shared yellow weather warnings for thunderstorms this week following a string of heatwaves this summer.

What Met Office weather warnings mean

The sudden change in temperatures have sparked warnings over ‘thunderfever’ a rare weather phenomenon that makes hay fever (and asthma) much worse with a combination of thunderstorms and elevated pollen counts across the country. It happens when moisture and lightning brought by the storm, shatter pollen normally too large to enter the lungs into tiny pieces.

Whilst drivers need to be careful that sneezing, a runny nose and watery eyes brought on by hay fever doesn’t impair their driving ability, they should also be aware of a serious risk to those suffering with the pollen levels.

The government legislation that bans driving while under the influence does not distinguish between illicit drugs, prescription medication and over-the-counter medications. 

This means any type of drug that affects a motorist’s driving abilities could potentially result in a drug-driving conviction, even if it’s something as simple as hay fever medication that causes drowsiness. One in four people in the UK has hay fever, which equates to approximately 16 million people.

£5,000 fine warning to UK drivers amid 'thunder fever' phenomenon

Greg Wilson, founder of said: “The weather has been extreme this summer and driving in the heat alone has been challenging but there are things drivers need to know to avoid risking penalty points or fines and keep themselves safe on the roads.

“If a storm is predicted look at official flood warnings, avoid roads that are likely to flood and allow more travel time, note drivers may have to pull over and wait it out if the downpour starts to affect your visibility – drivers can be fined if they can’t see clearly out of all windows.

“Hay fever symptoms can come on unexpectedly and some types of medication do cause drowsiness, or carry a ‘do not operate heavy machinery’ warning. If a driver fails to obey this warning and gets behind the wheel, they could risk a hefty fine of up to £5,000, points on their licence and endanger themselves and other road users.”