Skip to main content
Drug-Impaired Driving

Dangers of Driving After Taking Prescription Drugs or Over-the-Counter Medicines

There’s More Than One Way to Be Under the Influence

It is a well-known fact that driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal, but not everyone realizes the dangers of driving after taking drugs — including prescription and over-the-counter medications. Many legally obtained and commonly used OTC and prescription drugs can affect a user’s ability to drive safely. 

Antidepressants, opioids, and other prescription drugs may cause impairment.

If you are taking a prescription drug, or get a prescription for a new medicine or a higher dose of a current drug, do not drive until you know what effect it has on your judgment, coordination, and reaction time. Additionally, certain medications may not impair you on their own, but if taken with a second medication or with alcohol, they may cause impairment. Know that warnings against “operating heavy machinery” include driving a vehicle.

Commonly used over-the-counter medications can put drivers at risk.

Cold and allergy medicines, sleep aids, and other OTC medications can cause side effects, including drowsiness, nausea, and blurred vision — all of which can put everyone on the road at risk. 

There’s more than one way to be under the influence.

It doesn’t matter what term you use: If a person is feeling a little high, buzzed, stoned, wasted, or drunk, he or she is impaired and should not get behind the wheel. Before leaving the pharmacy, understand the warnings about the drugs you are taking. If you are taking a prescription or over-the-counter medication that may impair your driving, you should not drive. Help us spread this valuable message: There’s More Than One Way to Be Under the Influence