Most responsible drivers are aware of the dangers of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle if they have been drinking alcohol. They are also aware of the effect illegal or recreational drugs can have on their ability to operate safely. However, one of the things these same responsible drivers may not even think about is the effect that many prescription medications can have on their ability to drive safely. Unfortunately, there are many medications that are frequently prescribed that have potential side effects that can endanger not only the driver, but everyone else on the road, as well.
Before taking any new medication, you should always check with your doctor and pharmacist for any side effects that could occur that would have an impact on your driving ability. Some of these side effects are only temporary and go away quickly, while others have an extended effect. Mixing medications can be particularly dangerous, so it is also important to check with your medical provider and pharmacist to make sure any new medication will not have an adverse reaction when combined with any current medications you are on. This is also true for many over-the-counter (OTC) medications, too.
Some of the most common medication side effects include:
- Aggressive behavior
- Blurry vision
- Drowsiness or sleepiness
- Inability to focus
- Slower movements
- Slower reaction time
There are many medications that can hamper your ability to drive safely, especially when they are combined with other medications. According to the FDA, this includes the following:
- Anti-anxiety drugs like Valium and other benzodiazepines
- Antidepressants like Lexapro, Prozac, and Zoloft
- Anti-diarrheal medications like Imodium
- Antipsychotic drugs, such as Abilify and risperidone
- Anti-seizure medications like Lyrica and lorazepam
- Cannabidiol (CDB) products
- Diet pills, caffeine pills, and other stimulants
- Motion sickness drugs, such as Bonine and Dramamine
- Muscle relaxants, such as Soma and cyclobenzaprine
- Opioid pain relievers, including codeine, morphine, and oxycodone
- Prescription and OTC allergy drugs like Benadryl
- Prescription and OTC cold remedies, such as Nyquil
- Prescription and OTC sleeping pills like Ambien and Lunesta
Of course, in addition to the side effects of prescription medications and the potential for car accidents, there is also the additional issue of prescription drug abuse and the impact it has had on car accident rates.
Let a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney Help
It is a crime under Virginia law to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition to criminal charges, an impaired driver who causes an accident may also be responsible for punitive damages for any victims who were injured in the crash or to the families of anyone killed in the crash.
Punitive damages are punishment for the driver for their reckless behavior. Injured victims or anyone who has lost a loved one in a car accident caused by a drugged driver should contact a skilled Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal options they may have.
At Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn, we have been advocating for injured clients since 1985 and will do all we can to ensure you receive the best possible outcome under the circumstances of your case. Call our office today at 800-752-0042 for a free case evaluation.