You might not give it a second thought when you take an antihistamine pill before driving to work. However, you may soon find yourself getting drowsy behind the wheel, especially if you are not used to taking this particular medication. Your situation may be further complicated if you doze off while driving and crash or are pulled over for signs of intoxication. You and other Tennessee residents should understand the potential ramifications of taking certain prescription or over-the-counter medications and driving.
The Huffington Post warns that some medications and driving should not go together. You may have a legitimate need for an antihistamine, cold medicine, antidepressant or narcotic painkiller, but these medications can cause impairing effects similar to drunk or drowsy driving. The most common impairments can include the following:
- Sleepiness or confusion
- Jitteriness or difficulty concentrating
- Impaired judgement
Additionally, some medications for serious medical conditions may cause unexpected side effects that can be dangerous behind the wheel, such as fainting or seizures. You may take a drug like a sleep aid or flu medication at night, thinking that it will be safe to drive the next morning, only to have residual drowsiness until the medicine goes through your system.
You may want to talk to your doctor if you have concerns about driving while on a certain medication. He or she may prescribe a different drug or suggest the best time of day to take it that is less likely to interfere with your driving ability. You have the right to a competent defense if you are charged with a DUI after having medication in your system. Therefore, this information is not meant as legal advice.