Prescription Drugs Can Make Driving Unsafe

July 08, 2020

By Keffer Hirschauer LLP

Prescription Drugs Can Make Driving Unsafe

When we speak about “impaired drivers,” many people automatically think of those who are intoxicated or high on marijuana or cocaine. Very few think about drivers whose coordination and judgment have been impaired by prescription or even over-the-counter medicines.

However, certain medications can impair a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, thus causing accidents. If a driver is impaired by prescription drugs, they might still be negligent for a collision and must pay compensation to those injured. The law firm of Indianapolis Injury Lawyers is proud to represent car accident victims in Indiana, and we will gladly meet with you for a free consultation.

Prescription Drug Use is Widespread

Statistics are very clear that millions of Americans take prescription drugs for a variety of conditions. According to the Mayo Clinic, around 70% of Americans take at least one prescription drug. Two of the more common drugs are opioids and antidepressants, both of which can impair driving.

Millions more people additionally take over-the-counter medicines to treat colds and allergies. Some of these medicines might contain small amounts of alcohol which could be enough to impair the ability to drive.

Many drugs come with warnings, especially warnings not to operate a motor vehicle. But too many people still overlook that information, assuming that a drug is safe simply because a doctor has prescribed it or because it is for sale over the counter.

How Prescription Drugs Impair Driving

A drug might be “safe” to take but still have side effects that make driving dangerous. For example, some will cause drowsiness, which can increase the odds of a driver nodding off behind the wheel. Drowsy drivers also typically exercise poor judgment or have slow reflexes, so they will more readily get into accidents even if they remain awake.

Other medications might cause a person to become angry. Angry drivers are more likely to experience road rage and can make reckless, dangerous decisions that harm other people.

Still other medications might make a person feel confused, disorientated, or dizzy. They might also impair vision or the ability to think clearly. All of these side effects are potentially dangerous and can cause traffic accidents.

Drug Combinations

Even if some drugs have no dangerous side effects, they could when taken in combination with other medicines. It is important that your pharmacist know all of the drugs you are taking whenever you pick up a new one. The pharmacist should understand how they interact. To protect yourself, you can also go in and ask your pharmacist if the current combination is dangerous.

Some drugs also become dangerous when taken with alcohol, even small amounts. Although one drink might not be enough by itself to impair your driving, it could if you are also taking a prescription drug that induces drowsiness.

Contact Our Firm to Review Your Case

The Indianapolis car accident attorneys at Indianapolis Injury Lawyers have assisted many drivers injured out on the road. The ability to obtain compensation depends on many factors, but your choice of lawyer is one of the most critical.

Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.