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Driving Under The Influence of Medications – Part 2: The Solutions

By Carissa Andrews  •   May 19, 2014

Recently, we discussed the potential dangers of driving under the influence of medications. While it’s fair to say the potential risks are equally as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol and illegally obtained drugs – there are ways to minimize those hazards. Let’s show you how.

Do you take one (or more) prescription medications?

If you answered yes, the first thing to do is talk to your doctor. It is very likely your doctor can help to minimize the negative impact of your medicines on your driving. Most people can continue their medication regimen just fine and maintain their road safety.

By speaking honestly with your doctor, they may be able to:

• Adjust your dose

• Adjust the timing of doses or when you use the medicine

• Add an exercise or nutrition program to lessen the need for medicine

• Change the medicine to one with less drowsiness/side effects

By becoming an active participant in your medical treatment – follow the S.A.F.E.R. tips and you will be well on your way to driving safely while taking your medications.

S.A.F.E.R. Tips

Put simply, S.A.F.E.R. is an acronym to remind you how to engage yourself in your medical treatments.


Speak up


Ask questions


Find the facts


Evaluate your options


Read the label & follow the directions

Once you’ve discussed your concerns with your doctor, learn how your body reacts to the medications you’re taking – whether they are over the counter, or prescribed.

Next, keep track of how you feel after you use the medicine. For example, do you feel groggy? Is your vision distorted? Do you feel sluggish? When do these things occur? Right away, or a couple hours after you’ve taken them? Through self-analysis, you should be able to bring your list of concerns to your doctor and/or pharmacist so they can better assess your situation and continue to make adjustments, if necessary. Never hold onto observations you consider to be “bad" because you could be putting not only your life in danger behind the wheel, but many other lives who come in contact with you as well. Every body reacts differently to medications and your doctor can likely find a prescription that works better for you.

What to do if you feel driving is too dangerous.

Remember; never stop taking a medication without the consent of your doctor.

If you feel your medications are possibly impairing your driving, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to make some simple changes such as:

• Adjusting your dose

• Adjusting the timing of your doses, so they have less impact on driving times

• Test out a different medication to see how your body responds

• Help you add an exercise or nutrition regimen to lessen the need for medicine

Taking responsibility they way your body reacts to medications is a huge step, but sometimes it can mean relinquishing your license to drive. While the perceived loss of independence can frighten some, getting around can be just as easy with a little planning.

This could mean:

• Getting rides from family or friends

• Calling a taxi

• Taking a bus or public transit

• Walking.

Whatever choices you make if driving is no longer an option, feel secure in knowing you are doing your part to keep yourself and others safe from harm.

Bottom line.

Most people can safely manage their prescriptions and/or over the counter drugs with driving safely. We take medications to make our lives easier, and often more manageable. However, it's our responsibility to discuss the ways they can interfere with our daily lives. Taking ownership of our knowledge by talking with our doctors, and monitoring the way we feel on our medication is key.

Have you or a loved one had a personal story involving driving under the influence of medications? If so, we invite you to share your stories and tips with us here on the blog, or by connecting with us on Twitter or Facebook.

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is an passionate author and freelancer from Minnesotan with a focus in creative writing.


The purpose of the above content is to raise awareness only and does not advocate treatment or diagnosis. This information should not be substituted for your physician's consultation and it should not indicate that use of the drug is safe and suitable for you or your (pet). Seek professional medical advice and treatment if you have any questions or concerns.