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Are Your Medications Making You a Menace Behind the Wheel?

Are Your Medications Making You a Menace Behind the Wheel?

February 06, 2018
By Bary Gassman

The side effects of many prescription medications can make drivers unsafe on the road. Driving is a complex task, and even minor changes in awareness and mental condition that some medications cause can create serious safety risks, both for drivers and for those who share the roads with them. Understanding this risk will help drivers make better decisions before they get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Surprising Medications That Can Impact Driving Ability

Narcotics and sedatives aren’t the only drugs that can impact driving ability. Other forms of medication can also impact reaction times, impair judgment and cause risky driving behaviors. Some surprising medications that can impact a driver’s safety on the road and increase the risk of a serious crash include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Stimulants

Drivers who are taking these types of medications may experience slower reaction times, muddled thinking, trouble focusing, blurred vision and even fainting, raising the risk of a serious car accident. Taking more than one medication at a time can increase the risk even more, as medications tend to interact with one another. Even over-the-counter medications can make a driver riskier on the road.

Many drivers can drive safely while using medication, but all need to understand the risk. If medication is causing attention or focus problems, drivers need to talk to their doctors, change the timing of the medication, change medications altogether or adjust the dose to reduce their risk. Without making these critical changes, drivers taking prescriptions put others at risk for serious injuries from a car accident.

Drivers Are Accountable for Driving Under Prescription Drug Influences

Every day, people get behind the wheel of a car and take to the road despite the impact their medications have on their driving abilities. As many as 20 percents of drivers state they knowingly drove with prescriptions in their bodies that could make them unsafe on the road. When accidents occur due to a driver’s prescription medication, the at-fault driver can be considered guilty of driving under the influence and he or she can be held liable for injuries that result from the crash.

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