When you think of driving under the influence (DUI), you might automatically think of driving while impaired by alcohol or marijuana. However, impaired driving encompasses a lot more than these two instances. One aspect you might overlook is driving while you are impaired by prescription medications. Even if you are legally prescribed a certain type of medicine, you may not be able to drive when you take it if it is a controlled substance.
You could get pulled over and charged with a DUI or DWAI in Colorado for driving while taking a certain medication. Below is a quick overview of how medications can affect your driving and what you should do about it.
How medications can affect your driving
You might take medications for allergies, pain, depression or a variety of other reasons and conditions. Some of these medicines may impair your ability to safely drive a car. Potential reactions to certain prescription medications include:
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Slowed movement
If you take multiple medications, it could increase your risk of impairment.
What to do about your medications
The most important thing is to talk openly with your doctor. Ask if any medications -- or combination of medications -- may affect your ability to drive. Always keep your medical provider up-to-date on every medication and supplement you are taking, including over-the-counter ones. A herbal supplement that might seem harmless may react with one of your prescription medications.
If your doctor determines your prescriptions may affect your driving abilities, he or she may be able to adjust the dose, timing of taking the medication, or change the medication to one that will not affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Make sure you ask your doctor about driving whenever you start new medications. If you are mindful, you may be able to avoid getting charged with a DWI or DWAI.
If you are arrested for impaired driving, remember that there are potentially successful defenses. Speak with an experienced DUI defense lawyer concerning your legal options.