We all know that drinking and driving don’t mix and that illegal drugs impair you just the same. People caught driving under the influence face stiff penalties in Florida.

What most drivers do not realize however, is that prescription and over-the-counter medication can also affect your driving skills and can increase the potential for injuring others and causing fatalities. While not sanctioned the same way as in the case of alcohol or ecstasy, drivers who cause a serious accident while impaired by medication will carry the burden of guilt for life.

Medication impairs your body in a variety of ways, affecting cognition, judgment, reflexes, and motor skills. People may be able to see an object in front of them, but be so relaxed that they do not react until it is too late. Or they might be so excited that they do not even see the object in time to avoid a crash. Some drugs may blur your vision or make you tired. They could raise or lower your blood pressure or make you react too quickly, too slowly or not at all.

According to a number of studies, the effects of certain drugs on your driving ability are seriously underestimated. For instance:
  • Sedating antidepressants have the same effect as driving drunk;
  • 10 mg of Valium causes greater driving impairment than a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1;
  • Over-the-counter decongestant pills, or drugs to relieve pain, nausea, allergies  or cold and cough can cause drowsiness, anxiety and dizziness;
  • Many diabetes, blood pressure, ulcer or insomnia prescription drugs have side effects that seriously affect your driving skills.

If you need to drive while taking drugs, talk to your physician or pharmacist about the intensity, timing and duration of the side effects. Be especially alert if you combine different drugs.

Auto accidents in Florida will not be kept under control by legislation and enforcement alone. Everyone has to recognize his or her own responsibility in keeping the roads safe.

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a car crash caused by someone else, you may need the support of an experienced and determined attorney focused on car, truck and motorcycle accidents in North and Central Florida. Call the Daytona Beach attorneys of Johnson & Gilbert today toll free at (800) 556-8890 and locally at (386) 673-4412 or fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.
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