Your cold medicine could result in a DWI

You had to see your doctor because of your cold. It just wasn't getting any better. You went through the exam and were told to take some medications.

Of the medicines you were given, a few are known to cause drowsiness. Some might make you tired to help you sleep off the cold, for example. That's great for your health, but it's not as good for driving.

If you choose to drive while on these medications, you could end up in trouble with the law. If you're impaired and driving, even if it's because of a prescription medication, you can face a DWI. The authorities are looking for people who are impaired by any substance, not just alcohol, when they're looking to charge them with a DWI.

Why can you be charged with a DWI for using a prescription medication?

The core reason is because a prescription can make it unsafe for you to drive. Think about a drug like Benadryl, for example. This drug is known to make the majority of people tired. Why? It affects the brain directly, so things like caffeine won't help reduce the drowsiness it causes. Other medications can have the same effects. Cough syrups with codeine for pain, for instance, have been known to make people tired.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it doesn't matter what kind of substance you use if you're impaired. When you're impaired, it's dangerous for you to be on the road. Whether you're impaired from street drugs, a prescription medication or alcohol won't make a bit of difference if you end up in a serious collision.

What should you do if you didn't know that you'd be affected this way by the medications?

It's always smart to take time to get used to a drug before you start driving. For instance, if you're taking a new allergy medication, stay at home that day to see if it makes you drowsy or if you have other side effects.

If you normally take a medication but it causes unusual side effects that you've never experienced before or that were not listed as potential side effects by the manufacturer, you may have a better defense against the DWI you're facing.

In the end, any substance that impairs your ability to drive shouldn't be used before driving. If you do take a medication that results in a DWI, make sure to defend yourself.

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