Although not all medications cause drowsiness, some do, making it crucial to ask a doctor about the side effects of prescribed medication. However, many drivers nationwide, including in Colorado, are unaware of the potential risks posed by non-prescription or over-the-counter medicines. Consumers might have seen the warnings on medicine labels to avoid operating heavy machines but fail to understand that a vehicle is one such machine.
OTC medicines could affect drivers immediately, or any of the following side effects could set in over time:
- Drowsiness or sleepiness
- Blurred vision
- Slowed reactions or movements
- Difficulty to focus
Types of medications to avoid when driving
Some medicines only became dangerous when taken simultaneously with other OTCs or prescriptions. Users of any of the following should inform their physicians when they are prescribed drugs:
- Opioids and other pain relievers
- Anti-epileptic or anti-seizure drugs
- Anti-anxiety drugs
- Antipsychotic medication
- Codeine containing medications
- Antihistamines and cold remedies
- Motion sickness and diarrhea prevention
- Drugs containing stimulants like stay-awake and diet pills
Along with these, cannabidiol products could also affect a person’s ability to drive because they cause lethargy, sedation and sleepiness.
Side effects can be managed
The best way to manage the effects of medications on driving ability is to read the printed information of any new medicines taken for the first time. By discussing it with a doctor or pharmacist, they could adjust the size and timing of dosages.
Potential legal consequences
Drivers on medication might not realize that they risk not only their own lives but also the lives of their passengers or other road users. Victims of auto accidents in Colorado, caused by drivers affected by medication, could seek financial relief through the civil justice system. Successfully presented personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits could ease the economic consequences of medical expenses and other damages.