People generally think of alcohol and drugs like marijuana when thinking of things you should not use while driving. The dangers of impaired driving are well known. However, over-the-counter and prescription medications can also impair your driving ability. Driving safely takes extensive amounts of focus, and it is important to be aware of anything that could affect your ability to drive.
Common Reasons for Using Medication and Their Side Effects
Many people around the United States use some type of medication for an ailment or disease. There is a long list of medical issues that often require medication.
Some of the most common reasons why people take medication are:
- Heart and cholesterol problems
- High blood pressure
- Muscle spasms
- Pain management
People rarely consider how deeply the medications affect them. Not only do they impact the disease or ailment they are trying to alleviate, they can impact your daily life with inhibiting side effects.
Some of the most common side effects of medications are:
- Blurred vision
- Slowed movements
- An inability to focus
- Sudden fainting
Some people take multiple types of medications, which can exacerbate the impact of the side effects. The risk is especially high for older people. As bodies age, they have a harder time adapting and adjusting to the side effects of medications, leaving older people more vulnerable to experiencing problems with medication side effects that could impair their ability to operate a vehicle.
Avoiding Issues With Medicine and Driving
If you are taking any kind of medication, it is important to consult with your doctor. It is vital to remain aware of the impact medication could have on your driving.
Talk to Your Doctor and Pharmacist
If you are feeling dizzy or disoriented while driving, talk to your doctor to see if he or she can:
- Adjust the dose or timing of doses
- Recommend exercise or a nutrition program that could reduce the need for medication
- Change your prescription to a different medication
Your doctor can assess your condition and find an alternative solution to your illness that will not impact your driving. Additionally, ask your doctor a lot of questions when he or she prescribes you a medication. Make sure you have a thorough knowledge of the possible side effects so you can identify them.
It is important you are honest with your doctor. Tell him or her if you have not been taking something he or she prescribed, or have been taking something he or she did not prescribe. Your doctor will only be able to help you if he or she has all the information. Professionals recommend you do not drive after beginning a new medication. Wait until your body has adjusted to the new medication before getting behind the wheel, especially if you are taking a large dosage.
It is also a good idea to get to know your pharmacist. He or she can give you information about the medication when you receive it. He or she can also tell you about any over-the-counter drugs you purchase.
Stay Alert About Your Body
Whenever you are on any medication, it is important to stay alert about how your body is responding. If you begin feeling disoriented or off in any way, do not drive. Contact your doctor as soon as you can to talk about what may be going on and determine if you need to change your medication or dosage. The more you can describe your symptoms, the easier it will be for your doctor to identify the problem and find a safer alternative.