Driving while under the influence of allergy medication has nowhere near the stigma of driving drunk, but it can be just as dangerous.
One of the most widespread campaigns in St. Louis, and the entire United States, is the push against drunk driving. Though it still takes place every day, there has definitely been a societal shift towards stigmatizing it and avoiding it. A fact that sometimes slips through the cracks is that a variety of drugs can inhibit your driving ability, not just alcohol. One of those drugs is allergy medication. If you are ever involved in an accident where allergy medication is a factor, the legality of the situation may be complicated, and it is recommended that you speak with a St. Louis car accident attorney. Of course, the best case scenario is your avoiding these accidents altogether. The first step in doing so is educating yourself on the subject.
What Are They?
When your body runs into something that it is allergic to, it produces chemicals called “histamines.” They cause a variety of effects in your body, including inflammation, eye-watering, sneezing, and more.
To fight these effects, people use anti-allergy medications. Some of the most common are Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, and Benadryl. The family that they all belong to is called “antihistamines.”
Their Most Dangerous Effects
While some medications are perfectly safe, many of these allergy remedies cause drowsiness. If you’ve ever taken one of these medicines before, you probably have experienced these effects. When you’re very tired, your ability to drive properly suffers and you start to operate as if you were under the influence of alcohol. Your reaction time slows, your judgment falters, and you are much more likely to make a mistake.
There are two significant legal implications to driving on allergy medicine. The first is that you could get a DUI. While many think that this punishment is designated to solely alcohol and illegal drugs, this is not the case. If you are under the influence of medication, an officer can deem you unfit to drive. The second implication is the liability in a potential car accident. Excessive drowsiness due to medication use can be considered negligent behavior, and the person who is negligent usually pays the majority of damages.
What You Can Do
The number one thing you can do is stay off of the road if you have taken allergy medication. It is simply not worth the risk. The second thing you can do is use medication that does not cause drowsiness. These will be clearly marked at the drugstore. Lastly, you can protect yourself from other drivers by keeping an eye out for unsafe behavior. If you see it, you can calmly get some distance from that driver.
Driving while under the influence of allergy medication has nowhere near the stigma of driving drunk, but it can be just as dangerous. Next time you are on any medication that leads to drowsiness, you should avoid getting behind the wheel. If you’re sober and somebody else is exhibiting drowsy driving behavior, do your best to get away from them. If you end up in an accident, it is best to speak with a St. Louis car accident attorney to discuss your options. Call (314) 361-4242 for FREE legal advice 24/7.