California residents know drivers should not get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. Likewise, you should not drive while high. But what about prescription drugs?
Many prescription drugs also have a narcotic effect on the body. They may alter your perception and ability to think. Is driving on these medications just as dangerous as driving on illicit substances?
Adverse side effects of medication
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration looks at driving while medicated with legal substances. The FDA points out that when speaking in generals, it is okay to drive on medication. Most medicines do not affect your mental state or ability to process the world around you. But there are some medications that do alter your state of consciousness.
The most common adverse reaction in prescription or over-the-counter drugs include:
- Blurred vision
- Slowed movement
- Dizziness, fainting or nausea
- Inability to focus or pay attention
Warnings against operation of machinery
If a prescription drug causes these effects in a person, what next? The medication should come with a warning. This warning will tell you not operate heavy machinery. This includes driving while using the prescription. In other words, you cannot get behind the wheel while the medication is in use.
If you do not heed the warning, you may end up facing a DUI charge. Though the prescription itself is legal, it is not legal to drive intoxicated. Some medications mimic the effects of intoxication closely. In these cases, it is close enough to count as an impairment. Keep this in mind the next time you take your medicine. If it warns you not to drive, you may want to find alternatives instead.