Is it dangerous to take nonprescription meds before driving?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Drinking alcohol or taking hallucinogens before driving can be dangerous. These compounds may impair concentration, reaction time and decision-making skills, which are all crucial behind the wheel.

However, these are not the only substances that can impair a driver’s ability on the road. Even certain nonprescription medications can slow you down, increasing your risk of getting into an accident.

How nonprescription medications can impact drivers

There are many drugs you can take that will not impact your driving ability. However, some over-the-counter (OTC) or nonprescription meds can have side effects that may compromise your driving skills.

If you take antiseizure or antipsychotic medicines, it is wise to talk to your doctor about their side effects and ask if it will be safe for you to drive after taking them.

Stimulants, like ephedrine and caffeine, also have significant effects that may endanger you on the road. Other medications that can make driving dangerous, include:

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Sleeping pills
  • Drugs containing antihistamines, including anti-allergy drugs and cough medicine
  • Anti-anxiety medications

Remember that the effects of certain drugs can last for several hours. Some side effects may even last until the day after you take them.

Staying safe behind the wheel

As a driver, it is essential to know how OTC drugs can impact your ability to operate a vehicle. Knowing their effects and how long they last, may help you understand whether it is safe for you to drive or not.

It is recommended that you discuss this concern with your healthcare provider. Talk to them about the possible side effects of your medications. They may help adjust the dose or the time you can administer the drug for, so you do not have to drive while it is still in your system.