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Medication You Can’t Take While Driving

pill bottle spilled over with pills on the counter

Whether for a short time or long-term, everyone had to take medication at some point in their life. Did you know that some affect your ability to drive, though? There are a number of medications that impair your ability so much they make getting behind the wheel a hazard. For your safety and others’, here’s what you need to know, according to the experts at the Law Office of Matthew L. Sharp.

Pain Relievers

You’ve probably driven after taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen, and there’s nothing wrong with that. While these over-the-counter pills can impair your reaction time, they aren’t considered dangerous when you take the correct dosages. 

Drugs derived from opiates, on the other hand, are a clear no-go. Morphine, codeine, and even Vicodin cause a multitude of symptoms that severely impact your ability to drive. Disorientation and sleepiness are the two to worry about most, according to a motor vehicle accident lawyer.  


Allergy medications used to be notorious for causing drowsiness, but today’s offerings include those with non-drowsy formulas like Claritin and Allegra. The thing is, you need to make sure that non-drowsy is part of your allergy medication’s makeup. 

People forget to read the labels, accidentally taking intense antihistamines that leave them compromised behind the wheel. Before making your purchase, make sure the pills you’re taking include a non-drowsy formula. 


The long list of antidepressants available all come with their own side effects, some of which cause drowsiness and slowed reaction time. Drugs like Trazadone and Nefazodone could cause you to brake three seconds slower in a critical situation. 

Then there’s the SSRI line, including Prozac and Celexa, which can lead to insomnia. Until you know how an antidepressant will affect you, it’s best to wait a few days before getting behind the wheel as you let your body adjust. 

Antianxiety Agents

Valium and Xanax, drugs used to calm anxiety, often impair judgement. They can also affect reaction times depending on the person, making them just as dangerous as antidepressants. A workplace discrimination lawyer familiar with cases involving these types of medications warns their clients to give themselves a few days to adjust with these, as well. 


Like most people, you probably think that energy drinks and caffeine pills would make you a better driver. Afterall, stimulants make people alert. Right? As it turns out, that hyper state causes more accidents that you might think. 

As you become more energetic, you lose some of your ability to concentrate. This is especially true for finer details, which are essential to driving. There’s nothing wrong with one cup of coffee or an energy drink, but multiple drinks start impairing your ability.


Antihypertensives are blood pressure medication, which can cause you to become listless. This is especially true for the beta blocker variety. Most people experience sluggishness for the first few weeks after starting a new medication regimen. So, take it easy before you get back behind the wheel. 

Muscle Relaxers

Just like antihypertensives, muscle relaxers are designed to make you more lethargic. While you probably aren’t planning on driving after taking prescription muscle relaxants, even melatonin and valerian root can come with after-effects that inhibit your reaction time