With the arrival of fall comes a time of year many of us dread: cold and flu season. October is when you need to get your vaccinations to protect yourself against the number of strains expected to make the rounds. However, this will not protect you from getting colds and other infections common at this time of year. For relief, many of us turn to over-the-counter and prescribed cold and cough medicines. While these can help alleviate your symptoms enough to make it through the workday, it is important to be aware of other impacts they could have. Even seemingly mild medications can impact your driving abilities, making impaired driving-related car accidents more likely to occur.
The Dangers of Driving While Taking Cold and Flu Medicines
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued its recommendations for the 2019-2020 cold and flu season. Considering the havoc wreaked by last years bug and the potential dangers these viruses can pose, particularly to people with weakened immune systems, they recommend getting your flu shot by the end of October. They also advise upping handwashing, using sanitizer, and staying home from work or school if you are sick.
Unfortunately, few people have the luxury of taking time off at the first sign of a cold or the sniffles. To stay on top of these symptoms, many rely on prescription strength and over the counter medicines. However, these can cause drowsiness, dizziness, impaired judgment, and reduced reaction times, all of which could make you a danger behind the wheel. Medications to avoid taking when driving include:
- Couch medicines
- Pain relievers
- Cold and flu relief multi-symptom medications, that may contain all of the above along with significant amounts of alcohol
Other Medications That Increase Car Accident Risks
In addition to cold and flu medications, there are numerous other legal drugs that can increase the chances of car accidents. While all drivers need to be aware of the potential dangers, older adults are among those particularly at risk. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), people over the age of 65 take an average of five or more medications each day. The ones you need to be especially cautious with include:
- Anti-anxiety medications
- High blood pressure and heart disease medications
- Muscle relaxers
- Narcotic pain pills
- Sleep medications, which can impact driving abilities the next day
Be aware that there is always the risk of drug interactions as well, increasing the likelihood of symptoms and side effects that put you at risk behind the wheel. Check with your doctor about whether the medicines you are taking could impact your driving abilities and let them know if you begin taking any new prescribed or over the counter drugs.
Contact Our San Jose Attorneys Today for Help
If you suspect drugs or medications may have played a role in your car accident, get the legal guidance you need from the Jachimowicz Law Group. Call 408-550-1732 or contact our skilled San Jose car accident attorneys online to request a free consultation today.