When people think about others getting DWIs, they usually imagine someone who has been drinking heavily but who still chooses to get behind the wheel. For driving under the influence charges, the majority of people only think about alcohol and how it affects a person’s ability to drive safely.
What many don’t imagine is being pulled over and arrested for being impaired due to common medications, like pain pills or allergy drops. However, the reality is that any kind of impairing substance may lead to a DWI.
Your medications may make it dangerous to drive
Whether you’re taking an over-the-counter or prescription medication, you need to check the side effects closely. For example, your pain medication may state that it could make you dizzy or impact your ability to drive safely due to fatigue. An allergy medication may state that it will make you drowsy and that you should not operate heavy machinery while you’re on it.
Ignoring those side effect warnings could lead to you facing trouble with the law. Dozing off behind the wheel, getting dizzy while driving, dealing with sudden anxiety and shakiness and other symptoms can make you a hazard to yourself and others on the road.
How dangerous is it to be on the road while taking prescription medications?
The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that around a million people were arrested in 2020 as a result of alcohol or drug impairment. Around 30% of all vehicular collision fatalities that year were linked to drug or alcohol impairment, and prescription drugs were included in that category.
There are real safety risks to getting behind the wheel when you’re using a prescription medication if you don’t already know how it affects you. If you’re going to be taking a new medication or increasing your dose, the first few times you take it should be when you don’t need to drive or have someone there to help you get to your destination safely. If you don’t do this, you could end up being impaired by side effects that you weren’t expecting and face an arrest for a DWI.