The use of psychoactive drugs and driving after taking medication has resulted in a lot of accidents in recent times. It has been an issue of serious concern for law enforcement officers and safety professionals in the U.S. and across the world. It is not just alcohol and illegal drugs that are posing a big problem, but also perfectly legal substances. These substances can affect your driving considerably. The drugs include prescriptions and common over-the-counter drugs and medications. Prescription drugs and many over-the-counter medications can lead to drowsiness or a slow reaction time, especially when taken along with other medications.
A few over-the-counter drugs like antihistamines, cough syrups, and cold medications can create drowsiness. There are drugs that have a label warning for people who operate bulldozers, front-end, and heavy machinery. However, this rule applies to every driver who is under medication. If the situation is unavoidable and you need to drive, you must use drugs with a non-drowsy formula.
Most of the prescription drugs have labels on their bottles that describe the effects of using them. They describe effects like “drowsiness” or “dizziness.” Drugs like these should not be taken before driving. These drugs are potentially dangerous as they affect your basic driving skills. They usually slow down the central nervous system and disable your decision-making skills,
It is a good practice to review the labels on the prescribed drugs before you take them. You may use them for allergies, sinus problems, acne, chronic diseases, and other conditions. In any case, be very careful of drugs that have been prescribed for such illnesses, as they are usually used to alter moods and combat depression. Never mix drugs without the professional go-ahead by a medical doctor. Find out if there are any potential side effects, and don’t forget to ask him if the medication would affect driving.
The Consequences of Drug Use and Drinking and Driving
To add to safety issues, you have to realize that in this Internet age, your public records can be viewed by anybody. Background checks are becoming very common. When it is found that you have been convicted of drug or alcohol abuse, it can hamper your chances of obtaining jobs, volunteer positions, holding public office, getting into schools, etc. Any scar on your reputation can be a serious issue for somebody who is going to get associated with you in any way, for any purpose.
Drug Impaired Driving
Drug impaired driving has taken a lot of lives through accidents. You need to prevent it by talking to a doctor or pharmacist about any potential side effects that any medication can have. If the drug you are taking has side effects and if it includes drowsiness, do not take your car out.
What does impairment mean?
Impairment is the negative effect that drugs can have on your ability to perform tasks. The effects of impairment are not the same from person to person. It can bring about changes in the way you walk, the way you do things, and sometimes, your vision and the way you speak. When somebody is impaired, they cannot perform their routine tasks at a normal level. Symptoms of impairment can include drowsiness or excitability, altered depth perception, or slowed or increased reaction time.
Among all concerns, impairment affects your ability to drive. However, people who are affected sometimes do not even realize that they are impaired
What causes impairment?
There is probably no need for people to be told that impairment is a leading cause of car accidents today. However, some people are in the dark about the kind of substances that can cause the impairment. A lot of people believe that it is caused only by alcohol and illegal drugs. What they do not know is that impairment can also be caused by many common prescription and over-the-counter medications. These medications are legal, like antihistamines used to treat allergies, and drugs for anxiety. Other common medications that can cause impairment include cold and cough medications, sleeping pills, and painkillers.
There is presently no database to track the number of accidents actually caused by drug impaired driving. However, NSC statistics reveal that traffic accidents lead to more than 43,000 fatalities in the U.S. each year. Of these, it is presumed that a major chunk is caused by people under the influence of drugs, both prescribed and illegal, and alcohol. Precautions are being taken and regulations are being put in place to decrease the number of people killed in car accidents. Awareness programs have also been launched to inform people about the dangers of drug impaired driving.
The best way to prevent an accident due to drug impaired driving is by having a designated driver whenever you go out for dinner and drinks. At least, make sure that you do not drive after drinks or medication. It is always advisable to drive during the day even if the dosage of your drug is small.