Most Minnesota drivers know that driving under the influence of alcohol is against the law. However, fewer understand that certain medication, including OTC ones, can cause driving impairments and can potentially lead to a DUI. With flu season approaching, it is a good idea to know which medications interfere with driving ability.

While driving while medicated occurs in drivers of all ages, the Saturday Evening Post reports it is a big issue among older drivers. Not only do they take an average of seven different medications, but many of the ones they take negatively affect their ability to drive. In fact, one in five take at least one type of medication that should not combine with getting behind the wheel. Antihistamines, a common drug used for those with allergies, is one of them.

According to the FDA, antihistamines are not the only cold and flu-related medication that interferes with driving. Common cold remedies and pain relievers, often taken for flu-like aches and pains, are on the list. So are sleep aides and those that contain codeine. It is wise to avoid any of these before getting into a car, because some of the effects include:

  • Increased fatigue
  • Inability to pay attention
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Dizziness
  • Fuzzy vision
  • Fainting

The effects of medication also intensify immensely when combined with alcohol.

Sometimes it is difficult to avoid driving. If this is the case, speak with a healthcare professional about possibly changing the dose of a medication or the timing of it. There may also be a suitable alternative that does not have the same side effects.