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Medications and Safe Driving

Medications and Safe Driving

These days, a huge percentage of the American population is on at least one prescription medication, if not several. But what a lot of drivers don’t realize is that their medications could be affecting their driving behaviors.

Usually, when we think about “impaired driving,” our minds immediately go to illegal drugs and alcohol, but in reality, lawfully prescribed drugs and even over-the-counter (OTC) medications used to treat pain, colds, and allergies can have the same, worrisome, impairing effects as illicit drugs and alcohol.

Did you know that you can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of prescription medication? That’s right, you can be arrested and charged with DUI if you’re driving under the influence of prescription medication. What’s more, the penalties for a prescription DUI are the same as they are for an alcohol-related DUI.

Side Effects of Impairing Medications

“Drugged driving is driving a vehicle while impaired due to the intoxicating effects of recent drug use. It can make driving a car unsafe—just like driving after drinking alcohol. Drugged driving puts the driver, passengers, and others who share the road at serious risk,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Not all medications interfere with a person’s ability to drive safely, however, certain medications most certainly do. Some medications have the following side effects, which can impair a person’s safe driving ability:

  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Disoriented feeling
  • Muscle cramps that make it hard to drive

What can you do to prevent drugged driving? Since driving under the influence of illegal or legal drugs increases the risk of a crash, public health experts are urging patients who use prescription medications to develop strategies to help prevent them from driving while under the influence of a prescription medication that can impair driving.

Here are some steps you can take:

  • Ask someone to be a designated driver
  • Get a ride if you’re under the influence of an impairing medication
  • Discuss the risks of your drug and how it can impact driving with your doctor before you start taking it
  • Find out from your doctor how long the drug stays in your system
  • If you have to take a prescription and it affects your ability to drive, discuss taking it at a different time of day with your physician

Next: What to do if You’re in a Car Accident in South Carolina

If you need to file a car accident claim for compensation, contact our firm by calling (803) 932-6117 today.


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