Legal medication can impair judgment and motor skills. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study named a range of drugs (see below) which can potentially impair driving. Past research on prescription drugs and driving has centered on narcotic medications. Scientists have long believed that patients on stable long-term regimens of opioids develop a tolerance that allows them to drive safely. But, recent studies have complicated this picture.
We also know that frequently more than one medicine (that can impair decision-making or fine motor skills needed to drive) are taken together. Many medicines have what’s called a synergistic effect. This is like one plus one equals three. One medicine plus another one amplifies the impaired symptoms.
Drug class: possible side effects
- Anti-diabetic medicines: Low blood sugar
- Anti-spasm: Blurred vision
- Narcotic painkiller: Tiredness/sedation
- Anti- high blood pressure: Low blood pressure/foggy thinking
- Sedatives/hypnotics: Impaired reflexes
- Antidepressant: Sedation/dizziness
- Anti-allergy: Sedation/dizziness
- Heartbeat regulator: Fainting
- Anti-convulsant: Dizziness/sedation/instability
- Skeletal muscle relaxant: Dizziness/sedation