According to the UK Press association, driving with a cold could be as bad as driving drunk on four double whiskey drinks.
This data comes from insurance company Young Marmalade (yes, that's actually the name of a real insurance company in the UK, not a disco song or a breakfast jelly), which experimented with with black box technology, proving that sick drivers were worse at cornering, braking, reaction time, and driving at appropriate speeds. Similar data was also corroborated in south Wales by the Cardiff University Common Cold Unit.
Driving difficulty isn't even attributable to cold medication, it's simply because being sick with a cold has a negative effect on a person's mood, concentration and judgement. Sneezing and coughing also may cause shaking, and can cause eyes to squeeze shut involuntarily, and to water, which affect a driver's ability to keep his or her eyes on the road where they belong.
Although there's no hard data on exactly how many accidents per year are caused while driving under the influence of influenza or cold, the number is estimated to be high.
Considering that there are also a lot of people out there driving drunk, texting while driving, or driving while drowsy, and that it's relatively dark outside at early hours, and that weather conditions may not be so great at this time of year, do your best to stay home if you have a cold, or at least keep an eye out for other drivers who might not be in the best shape to be on the road.
Here's hoping you ZDNet Health readers are all enjoying the start of the new year while staying safe, warm and well!