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Medications That May Cause Car Accidents

shutterstock_437136379You are a safe driver. You don’t have any speeding tickets, much less any charges of driving under the influence. You are such a good driver, in fact, that you get a discount on your auto insurance. What you may not know is that the next time you get a cold, you stand a very real chance of earning yourself a DUI if you get behind the wheel.

The problem is not the illness itself, although that can sometimes make you so congested that you lose focus. It is the medicine that you will likely take to alleviate your symptoms. Although over-the-counter cold medicine is perfectly legal, it could very well impact your ability to drive safely.

Most over-the-counter cold and flu remedies cause drowsiness. Even those marked “non-drowsy” can slow your reaction time. Over-the-counter antihistamines for your common allergies can be just as dangerous. Think that you can drive safely on these medications? Keep reading.

Some over-the-counter medications used to alleviate the cold or flu contain antihistamines. These are included in the ingredient, in part, to make you drowsy. They help people sleep when they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. If you take one of these medications and are involved in a vehicle collision, you could be charged with driving under the influence. Here are some medications that should be avoided if you will be driving.

Over-the-Counter Medications

These first-generation antihistamines, allergy medications, can cause a driver to be too drowsy to operate their vehicles safely. Here is the list:

  • Chlorpheniramine
  • Brompheniramine
  • Dimenhydrinate
  • Donxylamine
  • Dimenhydrinate

Second-generation antihistamines that should be avoided include loratadine, cetirizine and fexofenadine. Each of these drugs may be sold under different brand names. For example, diphenhydramine is typically known to most people as Benadryl. It’s always imperative to read the label of any medication that you are considering taking to be sure about what it is.

Cough and cold medications containing dextromethorphan can cause confusion, blurred vision and drowsiness. These side effects typically begin 15 to 20 minutes after the medication is ingested. Most cough medications made for adults also contain alcohol which can compound the side effects.

Some diarrhea medications can cause similar symptoms to cold and allergy medications, but it is rare. If a person is going to have side effects from an anti-diarrheal drug, they typically begin within three hours. The drowsiness a person feels may last for up to eight hours.

Prescription Medications

There are a variety of prescription medications that should be avoided when a person is planning on driving. These include narcotic pain killers, antidepressants, sleeping pills, anxiety medications, muscle relaxants and attention deficit drugs. A person should peak to their doctor or pharmacist to discover if it is safe to drive when taking any prescription drug.

If you were involved in a car accident in Charlotte and the negligent driver was charged with DUI, you may have legal grounds for compensation. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. Let us review the details of your accident and advise you of your options.


Posted In: Car Accidents

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