When you take a prescription medication, you need to be aware of the side effects and potential for those effects to occur even if you’ve taken the medication without them happening in the past. For example, a prescription opioid medication may make you dizzy or tired, so it’s inappropriate to drive when those symptoms occur. People who take them regularly may not experience those symptoms every time they take a pill, but the side effects may return unexpectedly.
Why does this matter? Even if you’re taking a prescription drug, it’s possible that you could be accused of driving under the influence if the side effects impact the way you drive. For instance, if you fall asleep behind the wheel or weave in and out of your lane because of dizziness, an officer may pull you over and accuse you of driving while impaired.
A prescription drug could lead to a DUI
It is possible for a prescription drug to cause you to face a DUI charge. Even if that prescription is in your name and legal for you to possess, the fact that you were impaired by it enough to drive dangerously could result in penalties.
The situation is even worse if you took medications that did not belong to you. If that’s the case, then you could face drug charges as well as a DUI for driving while under the influence.
Which common drugs cause dangerous side effects for drivers?
Some of the common medications that may make it unsafe to drive include:
- Adderall, which stimulates the central nervous system and may lead to hyperactivity or drowsiness
- Xanax, which may lead to poor balance, trouble concentration and dizziness
- Clonidine, which has the potential to cause drowsiness and confusion
- Vyvanse, which may lead to anxiety and dizziness
- Ambien, which may make a driver feel drowsy and lightheaded
It’s important to know how your medications work and to give them time to work before you decide to get behind the wheel. You should never drive after taking a medication for the first time since you won’t know how your body is going to react to it. If you aren’t sure if you should drive, always call someone else for a ride.