It can be unsafe to drive when taking medication which impairs/affects your driving ability. It’s also against the law to drive when you’re impaired. Some of these prescription medications may impair your driving:
- strong painkillers
- depression medications
- heart medications
- allergy medications
- sleeping tablets
- anti-psychotic medications
- epilepsy medications
- addiction treatment
- nausea medications
- anxiety medications.
Find out more by having a conversation with your health professional about the effect your medication may have on your ability to drive.
Be a responsible driver when taking medication
- Always take medication according to the instructions.
- Don’t stop taking medication because you want to be okay to drive.
- Check how you’re feeling after you start a new medication. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse if you’re concerned.
- Check whether you can drink alcohol when taking your medication.
- If your job involves driving or using machinery, tell your doctor or pharmacist, and ask them what you need to tell your employer.
- Ask your doctor, pharmacist or nurse how long the effects last. Some medications taken at night may affect you the next morning. Talk about dosage levels and when you’ll need to be careful.
- Talk about the options with your doctor, pharmacist or nurse, such as trying a different medication or dose, or taking your medication at a different time.
- Don’t keep driving if you feel impaired. Call someone to pick you up – or take a bus or taxi.
- Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about all medication or drugs you’re taking – prescription, over-the-counter and recreational.
Responsible drivers plan ahead
Talk to the people you live with about how your medications may impair your driving so they can share the driving whenever you need them to.
Think about the following scenarios:
- Have a plan for emergencies or unplanned trips. How will you get to an after hours clinic or the hospital?
- Have a plan for any change in routine. If you take sleeping tablets at night, what will you do differently if you need to pick up a friend at the airport at 6am or collect a family member after a late night in town? Or if you take your medication with dinner, what will you do differently if you’re planning an after dinner trip to friends in the next suburb?
- Plan your alternatives to driving. Could you share a ride with neighbours or workmates, work from home, take the bus or get a lift with friends? Could you delay your trip to later that day or to another day?