Prescriptions peril! Check what you’re taking before you drive

  • Heed the warnings on proscribed medicines
  • Even unlikely medication could be road-lethal
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist
PRESCRIBED MEDICINE CAN KILL YOU: The UK's RoadSmart is warning that medicines from your doctor can affect your driving just as much as alcohol or illegal drugs. If in doubt, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Image: RoadSmart / Newspress
PRESCRIBED MEDICINE CAN KILL YOU: The UK’s RoadSmart is warning that medicines from your doctor can affect your driving just as much as alcohol or illegal drugs. If in doubt, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Image: RoadSmart / Newspress

LONDON, England – We all know illegal drugs and alcohol can kill you – and innocent others – on the road but now a UK RoadSmart survey has shown over-the-counter and prescribed drugs can do the same.

Driving while impaired by medication (in the UK at least) could see you banned from the road.

RoadSmart’s (part of the British Institute of Advanced Motorists) head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman suggests you check with your doctor or pharmacist whether your prescription could affect your driving.

THINK BEFORE YOU DRIVE

RoadSmart suggests: “Always ask your GP when the medication is prescribed and then confirm the information by reading the leaflet usually supplied with the medicine.

“This can often be overlooked if more-pressing medical matters are at the front of your mind.

“Some drugs are based on what elsewhere would be banned substances. People think that if they stick to a prescription they will not break the law – but your driving can still be impaired.”

CHECK THE CHECKLIST

So, here are some tips from RoadSmart that could prevent a very unpleasant situation – on the road or in a court…

  • If you feel in any way affected by your medication don’t risk driving; use a designated driver or a taxi. Don’t risk your or others’ lives by driving if your concentration or reactions are impaired
  • If you’re not sure whether you can drive with your medication, then DON’T. Use public transport. The UK government (though the same could apply in South Africa) offers advice and has a list of prescribed medications which proscribe driving.
  • Don’t, however, stop taking your medication – a perhaps too-obvious thought. Staying healthy is more important than holding a steering-wheel. Ask your pharmacist if an alternative medicine is available. If not DON’T DRIVE
  • Some untreated medical conditions and allergies will also affect driving capability. Streaming eyes caused by hay fever can make driving hazardous; even a fluey sneezing fit.
  • Manage your symptoms and avoid driving.

Gladman added: “Legislation around driving with prescription drugs is there to protect everybody. More so than any other impairment, drivers find themselves falling foul of the effects of their prescribed medication by taking a chance.”

 

 

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