Illegal substances can affect drivers in many ways, making them unfit for the road. Prescribed and over counter drugs can have similar negative effects on motorists, and driving while impaired by medication could result in being banned from driving.
This week’s tips give advice on driving with prescribed medication, from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman.
Top tips for driving with prescribed medication
- Always ask your GP when medication is prescribed and then confirm the information by reading your medication leaflet before you take it. Some drugs are based on banned substances but if you stick to a prescription you will not be breaking the law – however, be aware that your driving can still be impaired.
- If you feel in any way affected by your medication, don’t take the chance; use a designated driver or use a taxi. Don’t risk lives by driving when your concentration or reactions are impaired.
- If you are not sure whether you can drive with your medication, don’t get behind the wheel. Instead, use public transport to get to your destination. The government offers advice and has a list of prescribed medications you are not allowed to drive with.
- Don’t stop taking your medication. Although this tip may seem obvious, some motorists may choose the convenience and luxury of driving over their health. Ask your healthcare professional if an alternative is available and if not, plan around not being able to drive if need be.
- Remember that some untreated medical conditions and allergies will also affect your ability to drive. The itchy streaming eyes often caused by hay fever can make driving hazardous, so be sure to manage your symptoms and avoid driving when it is at its worst.
“The legislation in relation to driving with prescription drugs is there for all of our protection. More so than any other impairment, drivers find themselves falling foul of the effects of their prescribed medication by making a decision to take a chance.
“It is often through lack of knowledge that they find themselves in this position. If you are taking medication check what the side effects are or might be and plan accordingly.”
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