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Medications and safe driving

Affecting your driving skills

Car advices: Medications and safe driving

Medication is most likely to affect your driving skills, and cause you to have an accident, during the first two weeks you are on the course of medication.

Some medicines can have a serious affect on your ability to drive safely, and may even be the cause of a significant number of road deaths. Whether they are prescribed by your physician or purchased over the counter, some medications may impair your fitness to drive by impacting alertness, attention, vision, behaviour or sense of balance.

Driving ability may be affected by prescribed medications, or by those bought from a supermarket or pharmacy. These medications include benzodiazepines (minor tranquillisers), antihistamines and antidepressants.

The classes of medications that can affect on your ability to drive safely are:

  • Neuroleptics
  • Sedatives
  • Antiparkinsonian medications
  • Cold and cough medications
  • Antianxiety medications
  • Antiepileptics
  • Systemic antihistamines
  • Hypnotics
  • Analgesics
  • Diabetes medications
  • Ophthalmic medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Anesthetics
  • Antiemetics and antinauseants

You will not always be able to predict whether a particular medication will affect your driving.

You may not even notice that your driving is affected until you find yourself in a situation where you need to respond quickly and accurately to avoid a crash.

Don't mix drugs and alcohol while driving. It is therefore important to consult a health care professional (physician or pharmacist) to find out what effects these medications may have on driving and to always read the instructions on the bottle.

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Follow this advice on your own risk. Advices presented on this page are tips for long running car.
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