Chronic illnesses and ongoing injuries can affect one’s quality of life. Fortunately, motor vehicles often allow individuals to retain a sense of independence and freedom. You must realize, though, that medication may impair an individual’s driving abilities. 

The average passenger vehicle on U.S. roadways weighs more than 4,000 pounds and can reach fast speeds. If a driver cannot control a car, a catastrophic accident may occur. Therefore, responsible motorists must do what they can to decrease their odds of causing a collision. Understanding how prescription drugs may contribute to car crashes is critical. 

Potential impairment 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes that some prescription and over-the-counter medications may impair motorists. Depending on the drugs you take, you may experience any of the following: 

  • Sleepiness 
  • Edginess 
  • Loss of focus 
  • Dizziness 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Slow movement 

While medication side effects may be a minor inconvenience or annoyance under normal circumstances, they can be deadly behind the wheel. Therefore, you should always understand how your body responds to medication before driving. 

Safety steps 

You do not want your medication to put your life in danger. Still, you likely must drive to work, shopping centers and other places. Talking to your doctor about your lifestyle and any potential drug interactions or side effects is important. Additionally, you may want to time your medication to minimize the potential for impaired driving. Regardless, you should never stop taking medication without your doctor’s approval. 

Health concerns 

If you rely on medication, carry a list of all the drugs you take with you when you drive. This gives emergency responders vital information if you cannot communicate after a crash. Of course, if you feel you are too unhealthy to drive, arranging for different transportation is a wise idea. 

You do not want to inadvertently cause an accident because of your medication. You also should not have to bear the expense of an impaired driver’s negligent conduct. By understanding how medication and driving interact, you can improve your chances of staying safe on the road.