By now, virtually everyone recognizes the dangers of both distracted and drunk driving. You may not realize, however, that drowsy driving may be just as hazardous. In fact, driving without sufficient rest is about the same as driving with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit.
Before taking any medication, you should read its warning label. If the label indicates drowsiness is a potential side effect, it is best not to drive. Generally, though, three common medications may make individuals too sleepy to drive safely.
1. Cold medicine
Some over-the-counter cold medicines have sleep aids. If you take one of these medications, you may fall asleep unexpectedly. Prescription cold medicine may also be problematic, especially if it contains codeine. Either way, because cold medication often contains alcohol, a depressant, taking much of it may cause you to become sleepy.
If you have depression, an antidepressant may help you cope with your symptoms. Nevertheless, some antidepressants contain tricyclics, which often make individuals sleepy. Furthermore, like with cold medicine, many antidepressant medications have sleep aids. If you take one of these before driving, you may fall asleep behind the wheel.
3. Anxiety medication
Doctors often prescribe benzodiazepines for anxiety. While these medications affect patients differently, many report feeling drowsy or even weak after taking them. Regrettably, the drowsiness you feel from your anxiety medication may continue long after you stop taking the drug.
Whether you take anxiety medication or any other medicine, you should talk to your doctor about potential side effects. Ultimately, while you should not discontinue taking medication until you have your doctor’s blessing, you may need to avoid driving until you can drive alertly.