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Could your medications be putting you at risk on the road?


Falling asleep at the wheel can be dangerous for obvious reasons. However, falling asleep at the wheel is not your only risk when you drive while sleepy. Being tired can also negatively impact your reaction times, awareness of hazards and ability to focus on the road.

Drowsy driving collisions often occur when someone simply did not get enough sleep the night before. However, drowsy driving can still occur when someone is well-rested. For example, you may not be able to drive safely if your prescription or over-the-counter medications make you sleepy.

Fatigue is a common side effect of medications

Most people would not take sleeping pills and then try to drive. However, sleeping pills can be troublesome because it is not always clear how long they may affect you. Depending on when you take your sleep aid and how much you take, you may still be groggy the following morning when you might assume that that the medication is out of your system.

Sleeping pills are not the only medications that can make you sleepy. Many medications that are not intended to make you tired, can cause you to be sleepy as a side effect.

Some medications that may affect your driving, include:

· Opioid pain relievers

· Products that include codeine

· Muscle relaxants

· Antipsychotic drugs

· Anti-seizure drugs

· Some anti-histamines

· Some antidepressants

If you think your medications are making you sleepy, it may be wise to discuss your concerns with your doctor. Your doctor may be able to reduce your side effects by altering your dosage, recommending a different routine or switching you to a different medication.

Driving when alert can help you avoid potentially dangerous drivers

Although you can take action to prevent yourself from driving when drowsy, you do not have the same control over other drivers. Try to leave plenty of space around drivers who appear to be tailgating another vehicle, drifting out of the lane or hitting the rumble strip, especially late at night or early in the morning when most people sleep. If you see a driver showing signs of dangerous driving, it may also be appropriate to alert the proper authorities.

Unfortunately, if a drowsy driver does cause a collision, it can be difficult to prove. Drivers are usually reluctant to admit that they were drowsy at the time of a collision. Additionally, a crash can cause the body to release adrenalin, which can make the driver more alert following the crash.

If you are injured by a driver who may have fallen asleep at the wheel or been impaired by sleep deprivation, it can be important to do everything on your power to reach a fair outcome in court. You should not have to suffer because of someone else's reckless actions.

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