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Drivers Beware: Medications Can Pose a Danger Behind the Wheel

You already know that it’s dangerous to consume alcohol or illegal drugs before you get behind the wheel. However, you may not think about the dangers posed by everyday over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications. Some of these common medications have side effects that can put you and everyone else on the road at risk.

Medication Side Effects to Watch Out for Before Driving

All drivers should be aware that medications may cause side effects that make driving dangerous. These include:

  • Sleepiness or drowsiness
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Blurry vision
  • Inability to focus
  • Slowed movements or reaction time
  • Excitable or aggressive behavior

Some of these side effects may come and go quickly, while others can last several hours. Strong medications or those with extended-release properties may even affect users through the following day. Keep in mind that mixing medications can be especially hazardous since it’s hard to predict exactly how they and their side effects may interact.

Medications That Can Affect Your Ability to Drive

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a list of the types of prescription and OTC drugs that may affect your ability to drive safely. The FDA notes that most medications have no effect on safe driving behaviors, but the following drugs may have dangerous side effects when used alone or in combination:

  • Opioid pain relievers, including codeine, morphine, and oxycodone
  • Anti-anxiety drugs like Valium and other benzodiazepines
  • Anti-seizure medications like Lyrica and lorazepam
  • Antipsychotic drugs, such as Abilify and risperidone
  • Antidepressants like Lexapro, Prozac, and Zoloft
  • Prescription and OTC cold remedies, such as Nyquil
  • Prescription and OTC allergy drugs like Benadryl
  • Prescription and OTC sleeping pills like Ambien and Lunesta
  • Muscle relaxants, such as Soma and cyclobenzaprine
  • Anti-diarrheal medications like Imodium
  • Motion sickness drugs, such as Bonine and Dramamine
  • Diet pills, caffeine pills, and other stimulants
  • Cannabidiol (CDB) products

Stay Safe on the Road

No matter what kinds of medications you take, it’s a good idea to read all prescription and OTC labels to understand their potential side effects. You should also talk to your doctor or pharmacist about all the medications you currently use, follow all of their treatment instructions, and ask questions about any potential side effects. Healthcare professionals will tell you which side effects are most likely for your particular biology and can help you avoid those that could interfere with safe driving.

If you were involved in an accident caused by someone who was experiencing side effects from medication, you should learn about your legal rights. The attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. can help. For more than 35 years, our skilled lawyers have been fighting aggressively to protect the rights of accident and injury victims throughout Chicago and surrounding Illinois. We have recovered more than $1.5 billion in compensation for our deserving clients.

Contact us today for your free consultation.

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