When you think about “drugged driving,” you’re not alone if your mind automatically turns to drugs like marijuana, meth and cocaine. It’s well known, for example, that marijuana impairs a person’s cognitive functions and hampers their motor skills, while cocaine and meth both make drivers reckless and aggressive.
But illegal drugs aren’t the only substances that can lead to a DWI charge. There are all kinds of drugs that can leave you too impaired to drive, and many of them may be prescribed to you by a physician or purchased over-the-counter.
In fact, the odds are high that you’ve occasionally gotten behind the wheel while one or more of these drugs have been in your system:
- Antidepressants, like Zoloft or Prozac
- Opioid painkillers, like OxyContin or Percocet
- Benzodiazepines, like Xanax or Klonopin
- Sleep aids, like Ambien or Lunesta
- Cold medications, like Robitussin or Vicks
- Nasal decongestants, like Sudafed or Afrin
- Antihistamines, like Dimetapp or Benadryl
As we head into the cold and flu season, it’s important to remember that any drug has the potential to cause side effects that make it unsafe for you to drive, particularly when combined with other medications. You should also be particularly wary if a drug has warnings against driving or operating heavy machinery.
Even if you’ve used a drug a hundred times in the past, it’s possible that this time will be different. You should never get behind the wheel of your car until you know for certain that a drug (or combo of drugs) you are using isn’t negatively affecting you.
If you’re pulled over on suspicion of drugged driving here in Texas, you need to take the issue seriously. Don’t admit to the police that you’re on any medication. Instead, talk to a defense attorney right away about your options.