For some people, driving represents freedom or independence and enables people to get to the places they want or need to go. For many people, driving is important economically as it is their way to get to and from work. Driving is a complex skill and requires the driver’s full attention at all times. The ability to drive safely can be affected by changes in a person’s physical, emotional and mental condition.

As we seen this past weekend, Tiger Woods was arrested and charged with a DUI after police officers found him in his car on the side of the road and speculated that he was under the influence. As we now know- alcohol was not a factor; however, it is reported that Mr. Woods had taken prescribed medication that may have had a bad interaction causing impairment. This goes to show that this can happen to any one. Luckily, no one was injured or worse.

In order to keep you safe-we have a few tips to follow before you get behind a wheel.

How can medications affect my driving?

People use medication for a variety of reasons, including-but not limited to- pain, allergies, anxiety, depression, as well as heart and cholesterol conditions. “Medication” refers to those prescribed to you by an doctor and over-the-counter medications that you can buy without a doctor’s prescription. Depending on the type of medication, there may be side effects. Some common side effects of medication include: sleepiness, dizziness, inability to focus or pay attention, and nausea

Often times, people use more than one medicine to treat different medical issues. The combination of different medications can cause problems for some people. This is especially true for older adults as statistics show they use more medicines than any other age group. Research has shown that due to changes in the body as people age, older adults are more susceptible to medicinal interactions. The more medications a person takes, the greater his/her risk that their ability to drive safely will be altered.

To help avoid problems, it is important that at least once a year you talk to your doctor and/or pharmacist about all the medications that you are using– both prescription and over-the-counter. Also let your doctor know what herbal supplements, if any, you are using.

What can I do if I am taking medications?

Monitor yourself. Learn to know how your body reacts to the medicine and supplements. Keep track of how you feel after you use the medicine. For example, does the medication make you feel sleepy? Is your vision blurry? Keep track of how long after you take the medication that you feel that way.

Talk to your doctor honestly. When your doctor prescribes a medicine for you, ask about side effects. Should you expect the medicine to hinder your ability to drive? Are there any activities that you should avoid while taking the medication? Remind your doctor of all medicines you are using, especially if you see more than one doctor. Talking honestly with your doctor also means telling the doctor if you are not using all or any of the prescribed medicines. Do not stop using your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Talk to your pharmacist. Get to know your pharmacist. Ask the pharmacist to go over all of the medications with you and to remind you of any/all side effects. Be sure to request printed information about the side effects of any new medicine. In order for your pharmacists to check for possible interactions, you will need to remind your pharmacist of other medicines and herbal supplements you are using.

Before you get behind the wheel- you have the responsibility to make sure that nothing will alter your judgement and the ability to drive safely.

If you or someone you know has been in an auto accident due to someone else’s negligence– We want to help you. Look to Brooks to help you through this time in your life. Call now for a free consultation 1-800-Law3030.

Steve was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As was the practice for new doctors his father worked day and night during his medical residency at Charity Hospital there. Steve comes from a long line of doctors. His father, his grandfather, his great grandfather, even two uncles were all specialists and/or surgeons in their chosen medical specialties, including internal medicine specialist, obstetrics / gynecology, neurosurgery and general practice / surgery. His great-great grandfather was the Surgeon General of Ohio during the Civil War.