Prescription and over-the-counter medications can interfere with your ability to safely operate a vehicle. Even though these drugs are legal, you can still get arrested for driving under the influence while taking them.
To understand why, it is important to think about how drugs like these affect your body. Some medications don’t have any negative side effects that could interfere with your ability to drive. For instance, drugs like aspirin usually won’t affect your reflexes or coordination, meaning that you can probably still drive your vehicle safely when taking them.
Other drugs, however, have much more problematic side effects. Certain drugs can affect your focus, concentration, coordination, fine motor skills, and balance. Some drugs also have drowsiness as a side effect. All of these issues increase the likelihood of an accident happening while driving a vehicle.
For instance, if you take allergy medicine that makes you drowsy, your odds of falling asleep behind the wheel are much higher. Similarly, if you take a painkiller that affects your concentration and your motor skills, you may not be able to focus on what is happening on the road around you. This dramatically increases the odds of getting into an accident.
To avoid any problems, it is important to talk to your doctor about any medications that you take. They can advise you as to whether or not it is safe to operate a vehicle while taking those medications.
For over-the-counter drugs, always read the side effects carefully. Drugs that cause drowsiness or problems with coordination will usually have a warning telling you not to drive or operate heavy machinery while taking them. If you ignore these warnings, you are taking an unnecessary risk – not only with your life but with the lives of other drivers and pedestrians, as well.
Since you can get arrested for driving while taking legal medication, it is always best to err on the side of caution. If you are taking medications that interfere with your mental or physical abilities in any way, you should generally avoid driving. Even though it is a hassle to have to ask for a ride or take a taxi, in the long run, it is much safer.
If you are on a long-term medication that is interfering with your ability to drive, you may also want to talk to your doctor about whether there are any alternatives. They may be able to substitute a medication that has fewer side effects, enabling you to drive safely again.