If your doctor has prescribed a new medication for you, you’ll want to understand the potential side effects before you hit the Pennsylvania roads.

Most medications won’t impact your driving ability, but there are some that could cause conditions such as drowsiness, fainting, dizziness, slower reaction times, nausea or the inability to concentrate. While any potential side effects can last for just a short time, some can remain into the following day.

If your pharmacist has added a warning label to the bottle that says not to operate “heavy machinery,” that includes a car. You’ll want to ask your doctor or your pharmacist for specific instructions before driving, and the pharmacy can provide you with printed instructions about the medications.

Some medications that could affect your driving capability include:

  • Opioid pain relievers
  • Anxiety drugs
  • Cold and allergy medication, including some available over the counter
  • Codeine products
  • Anti-seizure drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Diarrhea medications
  • Diet pills
  • Medications that contain stimulants, such as caffeine or pseudoephedrine

Remember to follow the directions from the pharmacy’s handout and also to read the warnings. Your doctor also should be made aware of any harmful side effects that you feel to decide whether to adjust or discontinue the medication.

Your safety is at stake when you get behind the wheel of a car, and medication can affect that. You also owe it to your passengers and others on the road to be sure you are in tip-top condition to drive.

You can do everything right and still be the victim of an accident involving a driver whose medication has affected their driving abilities. It is hoped all Pennsylvanians will follow guidance to know the impact of medication before getting behind the wheel.