The dangers of alcohol and illegal drugs like cocaine or heroin are well known, and most people would readily concede that they could impair a person’s ability to drive. But what about prescription meds? Prescription meds sound less dangerous. After all, they are legal.
However, according to AAA, prescription drugs have many negative side effects, including drowsiness, which can interfere with a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. If an impaired driver struck you, then prescription drugs might have contributed to the accident.
Dangerous Side Effects
When we take medication as directed, we expect to do so in safety. However, you should read the prescription information to check for possible side effects that can impair a driver, such as:
- Double vision
Drivers must also take care not to mix prescription drugs with alcohol. Of course, few people intentionally drink and then drive, but common cold syrups can contain small amounts of alcohol, which could interact negatively with the prescription.
To check for possible side effects, use the tool available at the AAA website. Enter your prescription drug information and see whether any common side effects might interfere with your ability to drive.
Over-the-Counter Medicines Also Pose Dangers
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has also warned that some OTC drugs can leave drivers impaired for as long as 24 hours.
For example, the following OTC drugs can induce sleepiness in drivers:
- Antidiarrhoeals, like loperamide, can cause users to experience drowsiness.
- Anti-emetics can also cause drowsiness. People often take an anti-emetic to deal with the dizziness and nausea associated with motion sickness.
- Antihistamines can slow reaction times and induce drowsiness
Unsurprisingly, some sleep drugs can also interfere with your ability to drive, and few people will take a sedative and then get into a car. However, sedatives can leave lasting effects and might make you drowsy even after a good night’s sleep.
According to the FDA, extended release zolpidem can continue to make people sleepy long after they have taken the drug. This drug is sold under the name Ambien CR. The FDA found that women are more vulnerable since their bodies clear chemicals more slowly than men. Disturbingly, high levels of zolpidem can be found in the blood—even when people feel wide awake.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer in Virginia Today for a Free Consultation
Drowsy drivers can present just as much danger as intoxicated drivers, causing serious injuries when they lose control of their vehicles and crash. If a drowsy driver injured you, you might file a claim for compensation. At Emroch & Kilduff, our Richmond car accident attorneys have obtained numerous favorable verdicts and settlements for injured motorists, and we can use our expertise to help you, too.
To schedule your free, no-obligation consultation, please call (804) 358-1568 or send us an online message.