Prescription drug use is fairly common throughout the year, but it might be more common in the winter months when cooler air allows viruses and bacteria to thrive. As people start to get sick, it's more common for them to head to the doctor and get medications to treat their illnesses.
The trouble with using prescription medications is that not everyone knows how they will react to them. Some people may find that they become drowsy or feel nauseated. Others are "wired" and feel like they have all the energy in the world. Some medications cause changes in behavior, like making a person aggressive.
Why does this matter?
Most people don't think about not being able to drive if they're unwell. A cold or cough usually doesn't stop people from going to work or school. As a result, they may get behind the wheel of their vehicle and drive as usual.
The problem is that the side effects from some medications could make them dangerous behind the wheel. Someone who is usually calm may develop significant road rage. Someone who normally drives only when they have gotten enough sleep might be drowsy because of the medications.
These individuals could make mistakes that they wouldn't normally make, but you should be aware that being on a prescription medication isn't an excuse for dangerous or reckless driving. Using a prescription medication and causing a crash or driving recklessly can still lead to a prescription-related DWI.
What can you do to avoid a prescription-related DWI?
To start with, talk to your doctor about common side effects that you'll have to watch out for. Some medications have warnings about causing drowsiness or mood changes, so you should be told about them.
Another thing to do is to take the medication when you're not planning on going anywhere. Stay home, don't go to work or school. That way, you'll have a chance to see how the medication affects you and if you will need to find someone else to drive you to work or school in the coming days.
Finally, be aware that medications may cause side effects on occassion and not every time you take them. If you start to feel tired or unusual from something you've taken, pull over. You can call someone else to take you the rest of the way and pick up your vehicle at a later date and time.
Taking these steps can help you avoid a medication-related DWI from the side effects you're dealing with.