When you’re not feeling well, it’s normal to use cough medicine or other kinds of cold medicines to resolve your symptoms. You might still need to go to work or be forced to drive to pick your children up from school, so you have to feel well enough to do so.
Unfortunately, some of the medications that you could use may end up causing you to get a DUI. Certain medications can cause side effects that negatively impact the way you drive.
What are the dangerous side effects of cold medications?
Some of the side effects of cold medications that may make you appear drunk or too impaired to drive include:
- Hazy or foggy thinking
- Slowed reflexes
So, although the cough or cold medicine may not contain alcohol, it could contain drugs that are likely to affect your brain and body in similar ways to how alcohol would.
What can you do to avoid a DUI when you take cough medicine?
The first thing to remember is that you can get a DUI for any drug or alcohol use that causes impairment. If you take cough or cold medicine that makes you feel tired or dizzy, consider calling your employer, the school or others that you were planning to interact with that day to explain that you cannot drive safely. It’s better to have a day off from work, your children riding home with a family member or skip an event than to try to drive when it’s unsafe for you to do so.
If you have to get somewhere and need to take medication, always take the medication soon enough that you can see how it affects you. Some people won’t have any side effects, but others may have many. You need to take the time to see how you’ll react before you get behind the wheel.
How can you defend against a DUI for driving under the influence of cold medicine?
If you are stopped and accused of a DUI when you’re ill, it’s important to look into your defense options. Since you were not impaired by alcohol, there is a chance that you could defend yourself by explaining that you didn’t know how the medication would impact you, but that’s only one possible solution. Don’t talk to the police. Instead, wait until you get to know your legal rights before you decide how to proceed.