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5 Medications That Can Impair Your Driving Abilities

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Photo of a person standing by a window looking at the label of a medication bottle.

As drivers, we must always be alert and focused on the road. While most people know that substances like alcohol can significantly impair their driving ability, many do not realize that prescription or over-the-counter medications can also impair their driving abilities.

Although many medications are legal, safe, and effective treatments for various ailments, they can affect a driver’s reaction time, judgment, and coordination.

1. Sleep Medications

Driving while drowsy can be as dangerous as driving while drunk. Prescription and over-the-counter medications designed to help aid sleep can also cause extreme drowsiness and other side effects that can impede driving ability. Some sleep medications include common products such as Ambien, Lunesta, and Benadryl. It is essential to stay away from these medications before hitting the road.

2. Anti-Depressants

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.

3. Allergy Medication

A runny nose and sneezing whilst driving seem commonplace, and an allergy medication may seem like the perfect solution to overcome these symptoms. 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.

4. Painkillers

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. For this reason, it is essential to stay away from these medications before hitting the road.

5. Anti-Anxiety Medications

Anti-anxiety medications like Ativan, Valium, and Xanax are all 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.

North Carolina 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 Lanier Law Group, P.A. as soon as you can after an accident to ensure your case is filed before the statute of limitations expires. We have multiple offices across North Carolina to best serve you.

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