Allergy season, the common cold, and even that sleeping pill from the local drug store leave you vulnerable to a DUI. As a driver, you have to be vigilant about your ability to drive. Prescription or over the counter drugs can impact your driving. At that point, you are driving under the influence. If your driving is seriously impaired, it can lead to criminal charges under reckless driving laws.
Tips about medication and driving
Read all warning labels on any medication. Err on the side of caution.
If you feel groggy, pull over.
Use ride share or taxi services instead of driving when on medication.
Do not mix drugs, alcohol, or other mood-altering triggers and drive.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your medications.
Be honest about your lifestyle habits that may cause conflicts.
Let friends, colleagues, and HR know if you have a medical condition that may mean you are unable to drive. They can help accommodate you.
Common drugs that can lead to a DUI/DWI:
- Antihistamines and other allergy meds
- Sleep medications, such as Ambien
- Cough syrups containing codeine
- Anti-anxiety medications, such as Xanax
- Barbiturates, like Phenobarbital
- Pain medications, such as OxyContin
- Tranquilizers, such as Valium
- Stimulants, such as Adderall
- ADHD drugs, like Ritalin and Concerta
- Any over the counter medication that alters ability
Is your daily dose dangerous?
Contraindications are not the only risk to someone on daily medication. You may be of sound mind, but unaware that your daily routine is deadly. Even if one medication doesn’t negatively impact your driving ability, combinations of drugs may. This includes over the counter medications interacting with each other, or prescriptions.
78% of drivers over 55 take meds that can negatively affect their driving (AAA Foundation). Only 28% knew that those meds can impair their driving.
Check whether your medications put you in danger at Roadwise RX, by the AAA Foundation.