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Can Medications Cause Car Accidents?

Published: Dec 27, 2022 in Drugged Driving

Yes, they can. Many people take medication regularly without thinking about the potential consequences, but it is important to be aware of the risks, especially before getting behind the wheel. 

Prescription drugs can cause car accidents in a variety of ways, from making it difficult to focus on the road, to impairing judgment and slowing reaction time. If you have been injured by a driver on prescription medication, reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer to find out if you are entitled to collect compensation from them for your injuries and property damage.

Prescription Medication Side Effects

There are many side effects of taking prescription medication. In fact, many drug containers have warnings about driving while taking the medication. Here are some common ways prescription medication can cause side effects for drivers.

Drowsiness and Fatigue

Drowsiness and fatigue are two of the most common side effects of prescription medication. When you are tired, your reaction times slow down, your judgment is impaired, and you are more likely to make mistakes.

Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are another common side effect of many prescription medications—including some antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and painkillers. Like drowsiness and fatigue, nausea and vomiting can also impair your ability to drive safely. 

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision is yet another common side effect that could lead to a car accident. While it is not as common as drowsiness or nausea, it can still occur with certain medications—including some antidepressants, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, and even some over-the-counter cold and allergy medications. 

Precautions Drivers Should Take When on Prescription Medication

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Read the label carefully and follow the instructions. Make sure you know how the medication will affect you before getting behind the wheel. 
  • Do not mix medications. Even over-the-counter drugs can interact with each other in ways that could make driving dangerous. 
  • Avoid driving if you can. If your medication makes you feel drowsy, it is best to find another way to get where you are going. Public transportation, ride-sharing services, or even a friend or family member can all be good options. 
  • Drive defensively. If you do need to drive, give yourself extra time and space to react. Avoid any risky maneuvers like passing on a shoulder or making sudden lane changes. 
  • Pull over if you start feeling ill. It is better to be safe than sorry. If you start feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseous, pull over and call for help right away. 

What to Do if You Are Injured in a Car Accident Caused by Someone Using Prescription Medication

Seek medical attention immediately. This should be your top priority after being involved in any car accident. Even if you do not think you have been seriously injured, it is always best to err on the side of caution and get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. Your health and well-being are always more important than anything else.

Gather evidence. Once you have gotten the medical help you need, it is time to start gathering evidence that can be used to support your case. This should include things like police reports, photos of the accident scene and damage to your vehicle, and any witness statements that can be gathered. The more evidence you have, the better equipped you’ll be to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident. 

Find a qualified car accident attorney. Not all personal injury attorneys are created equal, so it is important that you find one who has experience handling cases involving car accidents caused by drivers under the influence of prescription medication. An experienced attorney will know how to build a strong case and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve under the law. 

Can Someone Get in Trouble for Driving While Using Legal Medication?

In Missouri, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of any drug that impairs your ability to operate a vehicle safely. That includes prescription medications. So, even if your medication is legal and has been prescribed to you by a doctor, you could still be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) if it impairs your ability to drive. 

There are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you have a valid prescription for the medication and you are not impaired by it, then you will not be charged with DWI. However, if you are impaired by the medication and do not have a valid prescription for it, then you may be charged with DWI. 

The best way to avoid being charged with DWI is to follow the advice of your doctor and pharmacist. If they tell you not to drive while taking the medication, then do not drive. If they say it is okay to drive, then make sure you understand how the medication will affect you before getting behind the wheel. Your best approach to do this safely is to take the medication for a few days before driving.

The Edwardsville Car Accident Lawyers at the Cates Law Firm Help You Recover After a Car Accident

If you have been injured by a driver you think may have been under the influence of prescription medication, you may be entitled to compensation from them. Speak with our experienced Edwardsville car accident lawyers at the Cates Law Firm to discuss your options. Call us today at 618-277-3644 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation with our experienced legal team. From our offices in Swansea, Illinois, we proudly serve St. Louis, Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis. Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.