Vehicular crashes are common occurrences in every state in the US that lead to fatal injuries and death. Among the leading causes are drunk driving, distracted driving, and driving under the influence, or DUI.
We usually associate DUI with substances like alcohol and illegal drugs. But we must also understand that prescription medications do not fall under this category. While many prescription drugs can be safely taken even when you are going to drive, other medications make it unsafe.
How Certain Medications Affect Your Driving
We all take medications at some point to address concerns, such as headaches and the common cold. It is usually not a big deal until we have to drive. While most prescription drugs would not affect your ability to drive, some drugs do. Some prescription drugs can induce reactions like sleepiness, dizziness, blurred vision, and nausea. Drugs that can make it unsafe for you to drive are those that can alter your ability to:
- Concentrate – you must be able to maintain your focus, not just on your driving but also in recognizing potential dangers ahead;
- Coordinate – you should be able to steer and brake without difficulty;
- Recognize spatial positions and movement – you should be able to clearly distinguish your position on the road, as well as the other vehicles around you, and how fast they go in relation to your car;
- See – you must be able to see the road signs and activities clearly and correctly;
- Hear – you should be able to hear sirens and other acoustic signals on the road;
- Maintain alertness – you should be able to keep awake while driving;
- Muscle Movement – you must be able to maneuver and take control of your vehicle without causing any problems to your muscles or musculoskeletal area;
- React to stimulus – you must be able to react quickly to any potential dangers;
Use These Medications with Caution When Driving
The FDA strongly urges drivers to make sure that the prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medication they take will not give side effects that may make it hazardous to drive.
Any or a combination of the following medications could make it unsafe for you to drive:
- Analgesics/Painkillers – Examples: Narcotic drugs, Codeine, and Propoxyphene
- Anti-allergy/Antihistamines – Examples: Cetirizine, Diphenhydramine, and Loratadine
- Anti-Psychotic/Sedatives – Examples: Zopiclone, Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates
- Anti-Depressants/Anti-Psychotic – Examples: Haloperidol, Phenothiazines, Tricyclic, and similar agents
- Anti-Motion Sickness – Examples: Dimenhydrinate, Meclizine, Hyoscine and similar agents
- Some Anti-hypertensive Medications
- Skeletal Muscle Relaxants
- Topical Ophthalmic Agents
- Anti-Epileptic Medications
- Addiction Treatment Drugs
- Heart Medications
Avoiding the Danger of Impaired Driving
At some point, you may have no choice between taking your medications and driving. You need to drive to get to work and run errands while on medication. While you don’t necessarily have to stop taking your medicines, here is what you can do:
- Talk to your doctor or health care professional regarding the side effects of your medications. They may be able to adjust the dosage and timing so it won’t interfere with your day to day activities.
- Inform your doctor or health care professional regarding all the other products that you are also taking, be it OTC, prescription, vitamins, or herbal products. Do not forget to mention any reactions that you may be experiencing from them.
- Your health care professional might be able to reduce the need for medication by adding a nutrition program or exercise regimen. These professionals might also be able to change your medicine to one that does not cause side-effects that can affect driving.
Safer Alternatives to Driving
If you can make an arrangement so you would not have to drive, then it’s well and good. Here are some tips from the FDA on how you can skip driving while you are taking medications:
- Try riding with family and friends; you may ask them to drive for you if possible.
- Take a taxi or uber
- Consider shuttle buses and vans.
- Public buses, subways, and trains are also popular choices for commuting.
- If your destination is not that far, you may also consider walking.
Car Accidents? Get the Right Help From a Car Accident Lawyer
A Lansing car accident lawyer understands the ins and outs of dealing with car accidents and fighting for personal injury compensations. If you or a loved one gets involved in a car accident, getting the right help from the most qualified person will help you get the rightful claim that you deserve. Contact The Clark Law Office today and let our experienced personal injury attorneys handle your case.