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Understand how your medicine affects you before driving

It may be frustrating that you need to take a range of medications these days, especially if your prescriptions leave you feeling unlike your normal self. You and other Florida seniors who are on a regular medicine regime may feel tempted to ignore the side effects as much as you can and continue living as normal. This may work just fine, until you get behind the wheel. You will need to understand the possible consequences of driving under the influence of a legal drug.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse cautions that pain relievers are the most common prescription medication that people had in their systems when they were involved in a crash. This is because prescription painkillers, particularly narcotic pain relief, can cause drowsiness. Your prescription bottle may warn you not to drive after taking your medication, for good reason.

After painkillers, the most common prescription and over-the-counter medications that may affect your driving include antihistamines, cold medicine, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicine. You may also take medication for a serious condition, such as diabetes, abnormal blood pressure or a heart condition, which has the potential to negatively impact driving.

The common medication side effects that may affect your driving include the following:

  • Sleepiness, dizziness or confusion
  • Difficulty making a decision or reacting in time to a hazard
  • Jitteriness or agitation
  • Seizures or passing out, especially if you combine the medication with another drug or alcohol

In addition to risking a car accident, you may find yourself facing charges for driving under the influence of medication if an officer pulls you over and believes you are impaired.

In an area like Florida that has a large population of senior citizens, you could face dangers from drivers who are on medication when they should not be behind the wheel. You may be entitled to compensation if you suffered an injury in an accident caused by someone else.