While impairment has historically meant that a driver was behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol, the definition has since expanded to include drugs. Additionally, as the strength of both prescription medication and over the counter remedies has increased, drivers are more likely to suffer devastating side effects to these legal substances – side effects that can lead to a serious collision.
People rely on a host of medications to cure conditions and alleviate symptoms. Unfortunately, these strong medical treatments often come with devastating side effects that can lead to a dangerous driving situation, including:
- Pain relief: Many conditions, surgical procedures and physical therapy sessions lead to immense pain for the victim. The medical professional will likely prescribe opiates to dull the pain. Unfortunately, these medications can lead to drowsiness, cognitive impairment and slowed breathing.
- Cold and allergy relief: Many individuals face seasonal allergies as well as bouts with cold and flu symptoms. Diphenhydramine is a common ingredient in these powerful medications and can lead to fatigue, blurred vision, slowed reaction times and difficulty processing visual data.
- Anxiety and sleep disorders: Medical professionals prescribe this class of medications, typically called benzodiazepines, to diminish numerous symptoms associated with several conditions. Unfortunately, side effects can include drowsiness, confusion and blurred vision.
Negligent or distracted drivers account for a significant portion of serious motor vehicle collisions across our nation’s roads. Unfortunately, negligence is often a difficult term to quantify. While speeding and reckless driving come to mind, other factors can play into this designation. Drivers must stay fully attentive and aware during even a short trip in a vehicle. This, ultimately, could mean timing the trip either before or well after taking strong medication.