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Prescription sedatives and Tranquilizers
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How does sedative hypnotics affect your driving

It is important to drive while in a clear state of mind, which is why it is always necessary to avoid driving under the influence of drugs that can impact your performance. In this article, we will discuss sedative hypnotics and how they may impact your ability to operate a motor vehicle, even while taken in a prescribed dosage.  

What drugs can cause driving impairment?

Sedative hypnotics and benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium can cause driving impairment and are illegal to distribute as well as possess without a legal prescription from a certified provider. It is a safety risk to be under the influence of these drugs while operating a motor vehicle, making it a hazard to drive while using certain drugs even at the prescribed dosage. Before taking any drug, it is important to understand the side effects it may have on your ability to concentrate and properly operate a vehicle. Not knowing the implications of driving while using these substances may lead to unintentionally risking one’s own safety as well as the safety of fellow drivers.

What are the symptoms of drugs like these?

Though you should always discuss with your doctor any potential side effects of a drug you are prescribed as well as follow the drug’s instructions (“do not operate heavy machinery” includes cars) and doses, there are certain symptoms you should look out for that may indicate impaired ability to drive such as:

  • Sleepiness
  • Poor motor skills
  • Poor concentration
  • Dizziness 

The amount of time after taking a medication that these side effects can last range from only shortly after taking the drug to a day. Again, it is important to discuss this with your doctor so that you do not mistakenly drive under unsafe conditions.

Which drugs can cause driving impairment?

Benzodiazepines are the most commonly used anxiolytics/sedative hypnotics and are proven to impair one’s ability to do things such as safely operate a motor vehicle. Barbiturates and similar drugs are especially dangerous in terms of impairment, even more so than benzodiazepines. Anxiolytics can be prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, whereas a sedative hypnotic is prescribed to treat insomnia. 

By now, you should have a basic understanding of the importance of understanding how medications can harm your ability to stay safe on the road. It is always recommended to follow instructions and to not go over the prescribed dosage of these drugs so as to avoid potential risks involved in driving under their influence.

Regardless of the classification of the offense, it is important that you seek the assistance of competent legal counsel to help you best understand your legal defense while identifying an outcome that best minimizes your risk. We here at the H Law Group patiently await your call.

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