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Medication and Driving

Medication and Driving

What Seniors should Know about Medication and Driving

There are many things that can interfere with safe and careful driving. Weather, texting, distractions inside and outside the car, and the driver’s health are all factors that influence road safety. Medication and driving certainly deserves our attention.

You have probably seen warnings on prescription bottles about driving and using heavy machinery while taking a particular medicine. If you are a senior who is regularly taking medications, then you know certain medications do affect your driving.  Why? Some common medications can cause a person to be less alert and to have difficulty in reacting quickly. Others may cause dizziness and lack of coordination. These problems may be something you are used to handling at home during your daily routine. However, the challenges of medications and driving could produce side effects that may be overwhelming for the driver.

Medication Side Effects

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has a tool that can be helpful to a driver who takes prescription medications. It is Roadwise RX, a website that will help users learn about the side effects of various medications and how those side effects can affect driving.

At this website you can enter the names of the medications you take and get a list of their side effects and the warnings about how they can influence driving behaviors.

Did you know that the common blood pressure medication Lisinopril could cause you to be  drowsy, dizzy,  and weak? As a result, while Lisinopril users are driving, they may have difficulty staying alert, difficulty concentrating on the road, and maintaining control of the vehicle.

Just being aware of the side effects of your medication is not enough.  What if you take medication, but you are also the only driver in the household. Do people depend on your driving? You can’t just stop taking medication and you probably can’t stop driving either.

Manage Medication and Driving

The solution is to ask your doctor about how to schedule your medication. Ask your doctor when the side effects of the medication might minimal. Then you can schedule your driving duties at a time when you are best able to handle any medication side effects. For example, if you  know that you can take the medication at noon, then you  can arrange a  drive to a morning appointment. If you take the medication at night, then it is probably safe to drive during the day.  Scheduling your medication and your driving needs for safety  can help you live and drive safely.

Also be mindful to think about weather and heavy traffic times when you schedule appointments and errands. Then you will be on the road in less stressful driving conditions.

Use the website to find out more about your own medicines and how they could affect your driving.

Be safe out there on the roads!

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