There are some common over-the-counter drugs that can negatively affect your ability to operate a vehicle. Even though you do not have to have a doctor write a prescription for an over-the-counter drug, you should be aware that some drugs should not be taken if you intend to drive.
The dangers of driving under the influence of common drugs can cost you enormously. You could be cited with a traffic ticket, have an increase in your insurance premium if involved in an accident, or cause a death. Understanding the types of common drugs to avoid if you intend to operate a vehicle can help you avoid unnecessary costly or fatal incidents.
Avoid allergy drugs that have an antihistamine ingredient on the label. Benadryl, Chlor-Trimeton and Zyrtec are examples of over-the-counter drugs that can impair your judgment while driving. Antihistamines can cause drowsiness or lethargy and slow down your reflexes and impair your mental judgment. If you have a runny nose or watery eyes and elect to take an antihistamine, make sure to have someone else drive you to your work or to your appointment.
Also, beware of “non-drowsy” drugs because some of these may cause drowsiness. Read the drug label to understand how long the drug can stay in your system. If you do decide to take an antihistamine, make sure that you do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle until all side effects wear off.
Cough and Cold drugs
Refrain from taking cough and cold drugs if you plan to drive your vehicle. Some cough and cold drugs contain a dextromethorphan ingredient that makes some people feel tired or lethargic for several hours. Cough and cold drugs with the dextromethorphan ingredient can produce a mild depression effect to occur in the central nervous systems leading to drowsiness, blurred vision and confusion.
In addition, there are some cough drugs that contain alcohol. Alcohol is also a depressant on the central nervous system and has caused many people to become involved in an accident. To be safe, avoid driving your vehicle until all cough and cold drugs are fully out of your system.
There are over-the-counter anti-diarrhea drugs that contain loperamide that can cause drowsiness or dizziness one to three hours after taking the drug. Symptoms produced from anti-diarrhea drugs can last longer. If you are suffering from an attack of diarrhea, avoid drugs with the ingredient of loperamide if you must drive to work. Instead try taking Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol because these drugs have a lower tendency to produce drowsiness.
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Some people may turn to alcohol as an over-the-counter drug to rid themselves of a cough or chest congestion. Alcohol mixed with lemon juice and honey is an old home remedy. If you do use alcohol, refrain from driving because it is known to slow reflexes and mental judgment. In addition, avoid taking alcohol with any over-the-counter drug because the combined effects will be worsened.
Be aware that some over-the-counter drugs can remain in your system for only a few hours while others can last for up to one day. Remember, if you drive under the influence of any type of medication that affects your reflexes and mental judgment, you could become involved in a traffic accident that could lead to increased insurance premiums or lawsuits for reckless driving.