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What Are Common Medications that Impact Driving?

Prescription Medication DUI Lawyer

Have you ever wondered why there is a label on certain medications that warns the person taking it to not drive or operate heavy machinery? It’s because these drugs or substances will impair your judgment causing potential accidents and even death. This action can result in a DUI and even civil lawsuits for negligence or wrongful death. Below are some impairing substances that should not be taken before you decide to get behind the wheel.

What are Common Medications and Prescription Drugs that Influence Driving?

Common medications that can impact driving include tranquilizers, narcotic pain pills, sleep medicines, some antidepressants, some cough medicines, antihistamines and marijuana. Read more:


Benzodiazepines or Xanax are popular tranquilizers that are prescribed by medical practitioners to help patients that suffer from severe anxiety, panic attacks, seizures, depression, muscle relaxation, drug withdraw, nausea, and insomnia. Abuse of these drugs causes sensations of excitement and happiness. People abuse these drugs to reach what’s called a euphoric state of mind. Abusing and using as described will cause side effects that can be severe when driving.

Narcotic pain pills

Drugs that are used to relieve pain such as morphine or popularly prescribed drug oxycodone or hydrocodone are narcotic painkillers. These drugs cause severe drowsiness, visual impairment, and even confusion. A driver under the influence of a narcotic pain killer will have a hard time driving straight and can swerve into other lanes or oncoming traffic. In addition, painkillers mixed with alcohol is a deadly cocktail and can make someone stop breathing.

Sleep Medicines

Medicines that specifically help fight insomnia can be prescribed by a doctor and are will cause drowsiness. Drugs like Ramelteon or Eszopiclone, which help a patient fall asleep, are available as a prescription but should not be used when driving.

Some Antidepressants

Trazodone is used to help people who suffer from depression and sleep deprivation. It balances out the certain natural substance in the brain to combat these deficiencies. It’s supposed to improve or restore a person’s mood and energy level.

Cough Medicines

Coughs are very inconvenient and can quickly turn into pneumonia. Coughs can also disrupt one’s sleep and therefore making it hard to stay awake during the day. Doctors will usually prescribe cough medicines or over-the-counter fixes to remedy a cough. It’s important to ask or choose a cough medicine that will not impair your consciousness or vision. There are many cough medicines that are non-drowsy, and the label will inform the buyer of this distinction. If this indicator is not present on the label, it is better to infer that the medicine can cause drowsiness, therefore impairing one’s vision or consciousness.


Antihistamines are in many of the sleeping assistant medications as well as over-the-counter allergy medicines. Claritin or Benadryl all contain antihistamines, which causes drowsiness that can impair a driver’s ability to see. Not every person that takes allergy medicine is affected by these drugs, but it is still important to take precaution before driving.


Although illegal in most states, marijuana is becoming rapidly legal to use for medical purposes. The well know side effects of marijuana include lack of concentration and the difficulty of time and distance perception. This affects speed control, reaction time, judgment, and causes drowsiness.

All of these drugs will help you with your medical conditions; however, they may cause dangerous side effects that will affect the way you drive. Yes, it’s hard to function when there is a mental or bodily disability. Prescription drugs are great when used as prescribed but are very addictive. If you decide to take one of these drugs as prescribed and decide to drive, your better judgment may be impaired, and you can end up receiving a DUI. Abusing these drugs will only increase your chances of DUI or worse.

Contact The Farrish Law Firm

If you received a DUI and facing jail time you need an experienced attorney that will fight for you. If you used these drugs as instructed and had an unexpected driving incident then call today.