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Tips and advice for motoring on medication

Whether taking prescription drugs or getting dosed up on over-the-counter remedies, it's important to know how these could affect your driving ability.

Driving while unfit through drugs, whether illegal, prescribed or over-the-counter is an offence that carries the same penalties as drink driving, so don't risk it. Follow these simple tips and advice to ensure you're safe on the roads at all times.

  1. Always try and have a 'dry run'. Take the medicine when you don't have to drive so that you can measure any ill-effects that might affect your driving ability when you need to.
  2. Remember to ask your pharmacist or GP about the effects of your medication on your driving.
  3. Always read the guidance leaflets that come with your medication. If they tell you to avoid driving, then don't take the risk; the information is there for a reason, so don't ignore it.
  4. Never take more than the recommended dose, this could be very dangerous and any potential side-effects could be exaggerated.
  5. Look out for the signs, some medicines may cause: drowsiness, dizziness, concentration difficulties, reduced coordination, feeling aggressive, unstable, nauseous or unwell. If you experience any of these side-effects then don't drive until you feel 100% better, take a taxi or use public transport instead.
  6. Taking alcohol and drugs together is even worse as their effects may combine and impairment can be multiplied, so don't risk it or you could be putting yourself and other road users' lives at risk.
  7. With the winter cold and flu season approaching, many people will be getting dosed up at night then jumping in their car first thing next morning - regardless of the fact that their reactions are likely to be compromised. So make sure you get up a bit earlier and are wide awake and fit to drive before getting in the car.
  8. Never mix your medicine unless you have been told to do so by your GP or medical advisor.
  9. Sometimes you might be given different types of medication for different issues, and independently, the individual medications may cause you no problems at all. However, when combined, they may have a different effect, so if you can try to take them somewhere safe for the first time - somewhere that means you don't need to drive anywhere when the medicine starts to work.
  10. For more help and advice on prescription and over-the-counter drugs  visit www.patient.co.uk

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