Driving Under the Influence … It’s Not Just Alcohol

Is taking a prescription or over-the-counter medication as dangerous as drinking alcohol combined with driving?

Safe driving requires precise skills, clear judgment, concentration and ability to react to what happens on the road. Drugs affect all of these skills, and not just illegal drugs. Prescription drugs and even over-the-counter medicines can affect your driving skills if you don’t follow instructions or your doctor’s advice.

Taking drugs of any kind and then driving puts you at greater risk of injuring or killing yourself, your friends or other innocent people.

Not taking your medication correctly can also be of concern. EXAMPLE: Diabetics can have sudden bouts of low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, which leads to confusion, delayed reaction, visual disturbances or loss of consciousness.

When taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, consult with your doctor or pharmacist before driving.

Visit fda.gov for more information on medications and driving.

— Lisa Robinson is a senior program manager with the National Safety Council