CHICAGO, IL – When driving on the roadway, drivers must always be alert and focused on what’s ahead of them. Most people know that substances, including alcohol, can significantly impair their driving ability. However, many do not realize that prescription or over-the-counter medications can also impair their driving ability. While many medications are legal, safe and effective treatments for various ailments, they can affect a driver’s reaction time, judgment and coordination.
How Can Medication Affect My Driving?
People use medicines for a variety of reasons, including high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, depression and much more.
Medicines include medications that your doctor prescribes and over-the-counter medications that you buy without a doctor’s prescription. Many individuals also take herbal supplements. Some of these medicines and supplements may cause a variety of reactions that may make it more difficult for you to drive a car safely. These reactions may include sleepiness, dizziness, blurred vision, slowed movement, fainting, inability to focus or pay attention, or nausea.
What Medications Can Impair Someone’s Driving Ability?
The top 5 medications that can impair your driving include:
- Sleep Medications
Driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk. Prescription and over-the-counter medications designed to help aid sleep can cause extreme drowsiness and other side effects that can impede driving ability. Some sleep medications include common products like Lunesta, Ambien and Benadryl. It’s essential to stay away from these medications before hitting the road.
Anti-depressants can affect a person’s response time and cause drowsiness. These drugs may impair judgment, which can lead to reckless driving and result in an accident. These medications can cause difficulty focusing, difficulty seeing, and dizziness. Some examples of anti-depressants include Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil. It is crucial to monitor your reaction when taking these medications and speak with your doctor before driving.
These are medications commonly used to control chronic pain symptoms. Painkillers like oxycodone, morphine, and codeine can severely affect a person’s motor and cognitive skills. The effects of painkillers can mimic the effects of alcohol, which can lead to impairment.
- Allergy Medication
Allergy medication may seem like the perfect solution to overcome a runny nose or sneezing. However, most allergy medications have side effects such as drowsiness and fatigue. Medications like Zyrtec and Claritin are common over-the-counter options found to cause dizziness and difficulty concentrating while driving.
- Anti-Anxiety Medication
Anti-anxiety medications like Ativan, Valium and Xanax are designed to help people deal with anxiety and its symptoms. The side effects of these medications include drowsiness, confusion and slowed reaction time. Additionally, it can take some time for the medication to work, so it is critical to wait and make sure it’s safe for you to drive before operating a vehicle.
Chicago, Illinois Car Accident Attorneys
It’s normal to feel like you can drive while on medication, especially if it has been prescribed by your physician. However, the side effects of these medications can manifest into serious driving hazards and potentially lead to an accident. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the potential side effects of these medications, speak to your physician and never drive if you feel even a little off. Remember, your safety and the safety of everyone on the road are of utmost importance.
Contact the Dinizulu Law Group as soon as you can after an accident to ensure your case is filed before the statute of limitations expires. Fill out this form or call us at (312) 384-1920 to get legal guidance today.