Don’t Suck & Steer – the £25,000 sweet …

Highways England and the dangers of sweet eating: 

Do not eat, drink or even suck a sweet when driving … for if this gives rise to a collision/accident, Highways England and their lawyers will hold you responsible, negligent.

In early 2019, a truck driver thought nothing of doing what he and millions of others do regularly … whilst proceeding along a motorway he sucked on a sweet.  The action was refreshing, helped address the monotony and took his mind off being hungry – whatever the reasons, many of us like sweets .. they taste good!

Sweet packets, unlike alcohol or tobacco, come with no warnings, well … do not to eat too many … the potential obesity and diabetes are likely known to all.   But, unlike drinking and eating, popping a sweet in your mouth is a prompt action that requires no continuous activity.

But what if the innocuous candy ‘goes down the wrong way’?  Who is there in your vehicle to pat you on the back, perform the Heimlich manoeuvre if that object in your mouth should suddenly, unexpectedly, block your airway?

A truck driver fearing the worst when confronted with the scenario lost control of his vehicle and crashed. Highways England and their lawyers agree that the incident was caused by a ‘vasovagal reaction’* relating to coughing, as a result of choking on a sweet.

For Highways England’s attitude, read more here.

*Vasovagal reaction: A reflex of the involuntary nervous system that causes the heart to slow down (bradycardia) and that, at the same time, affects the nerves to the blood vessels in the legs permitting those vessels to dilate (widen). As a result the heart puts out less blood, the blood pressure drops, and what blood is circulating tends to go into the legs rather than to the head. The brain is deprived of oxygen and the fainting episode occurs. The vasovagal reaction is also called a vasovagal attack (source).

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