When you think about someone driving under the influence, you probably imagine a person who is under the influence of alcohol. You should know that driving while impaired or intoxicated means that a person is impaired by a substance, but that substance doesn’t have to be alcohol at all.
It is possible to face a DWI for driving while impaired by completely legal substances. One of those that may put you at great risk is your daily allergy medication.
Drowsiness and disorientation can lead to a DWI
Around 87 million people purchased allergy medications in 2017, and the number buying them today has not changed much. These medications have excellent benefits, because they allow people who might otherwise have allergic responses live their lives more comfortably.
Unfortunately, these drugs can have side effects that impact a way a person drives. For example, older antihistamines, like diphenhydramine, are known to cause drowsiness and disorientation, dizziness and headaches. These side effects may influence a person’s ability to drive a car, which could, in turn, lead to a DWI if they make driving errors.
There may be an increased risk of serious side effects, like dizziness, vision problems or nervousness, if you combine more than one kind of allergy medicine. For example, decongestants may make you nervous at the same time that your nasal spray and allergy pill make you fatigued or dizzy.
Can you drive when you take allergy medicine?
Yes, but only if you know how those drugs are going to affect you. If you’re tired, disoriented, dizzy or otherwise unwell, opt out of driving and ask someone else to take you where you need to go. If you don’t, you could end up facing a DWI charge.