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Can prescription medication impair your driving ability?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2021 | Car Accidents

Even though most individuals automatically equate impaired driving with people under the influence of drugs or alcohol while behind the wheel, impairment can be the consequence of various substances. In fact, many prescriptions and strong over the counter medications can hinder a driver’s ability to perceive danger and make quick decisions to prevent a collision.

Side effects can vary widely on both prescription and over the counter medications. Some side effects can make it unsafe for drivers to operate a motor vehicle, including:

  • Sleepiness, drowsiness and fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Difficulty in focusing or paying attention
  • Hallucinations
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Difficulty reading or understanding text
  • Nausea

Unfortunately, side effects are unique to everyone. One person might feel effects immediately after taking a medication, while other people might only feel a slight reaction hours later. It is crucial that drivers pay careful attention to how medications dull their perceptions and impact the safe use of heavy machinery or motor vehicles.

Common types of medications that could have dangerous side effects for drivers include:

  • Opioid pain relievers
  • Anxiety medication
  • Anti-seizure medication
  • Antidepressant medication
  • Cold remedies and allergy medications
  • Products with codeine as an ingredient
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Medications for use in the control of motion sickness

An impaired driver can lose focus on the road and make deadly decisions. Failing to stop at an intersection, failing to recognize stopped traffic or driving the wrong way down a one-way street can all have fatal consequences. A drowsy driver might fall asleep behind the wheel and drift into oncoming lanes or into areas heavy with pedestrian traffic.

If you were injured or have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle collision caused by a distracted, negligent or impaired driver, do not hesitate to seek guidance regarding your options for monetary compensation.


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