Please tune in today at 4:00 pm to the Dr. Oz show. Our wonderful instructor, Jorge Santamaria, helps demonstrates the effect of over-the-counter medication can have on a person. Many over-the -counter medications will impair a persons driving ability without them realizing it. A typical dose is equal to three glasses of wine. These medications can lead to a DWI, Driving While Under the Influence. Over-the-counter medications can affect your ability to drive safely. Always remember to follow the advice of your physician or the label about mixing drugs and driving.
Antihistamines are classified as a depressant. Depressants are often referred to as sedative-hypnotic drugs or downers because they depress the functioning of the central nervous system. Small amounts help relax muscles and produce calmness, while larger doses create difficulties with judgment, reflexes and speech.
The effects of antihistamines, including over-the-counter remedies:
Slowed reflexes—reducing ability to react to driving situations, ability to stop quickly, and ability to avoid roadside hazards.
Drowsiness—reducing your ability to react to a number of driving situations.
Lack of coordination—reducing control of the vehicle, including: steering, braking, changing lanes, turning, shifting gears, parking, and stopping.
Blurred vision—reducing ability to recognize road signs, signals, pedestrians, and changing driving situations.
Reduced concentration—possibly causing inattention to driver responsibilities and negotiation of traffic. This could include driving off the road or crashing into other vehicles.
Lack of rational judgment—possibly causing a driver to take foolish chances behind the wheel.
Many over-the-counter medications contain alcohol, sedatives, and related substances that are not conducive to driving. Drivers must be aware of what is in the medications they are taking, and that these substances could impair the ability to drive.
Prescription drugs include cough medicine, antihistamines, barbiturates, and tranquilizers. Drivers often fail to recognize that many drugs that are prescribed by a physician have warning labels attached, noting alcohol consumption with the drug could be very dangerous. In addition, many of these drugs warn not to operate a motor vehicle when the dosage can cause drowsiness, light-headedness, slower reactions, intensified emotions, impaired judgment, and reduced concentration and coordination. A driver pulled over under the influence of codeine is still breaking the law, as he/she is driving under the influence. Drivers must be aware of what prescription medicine they are taking and the effects of each.
Keep in mind that the use of any drug that impairs your ability to drive is illegal.