Here’s how medication can affect road safety

We can agree that medication plays a significant role in our modern lives, especially when it is used to maintain a healthy lifestyle. With that being said, pain tablets can also have adverse side-effects which can affect how your body functions on a daily basis.

It takes time to perfect the skill of driving, and being solely focused, having clear vision and having the ability to react promptly is essential for any motorist. What most South African drivers are not aware of is that driving under the influence of medication can be risky for others.

Before you embark on your journey, you must always take note of any medication that you consume- as this can save your life or the lives of your fellow road users. Although medicine keeps you healthy, nothing else is more important than your safety.

Here’s how driving under the influence of medication could affect your ability to drive safely:

Being shaky
Car pedals, gears and a steering wheel are the most important (user controlled) parts of a vehicle. Driving with shaky hands and/or legs may result in uncontrolled acceleration of the car or cause you to swerve out of your lane. This may cause a collision, resulting in injuries and even death.


Feeling tired is something everyone experiences, especially if you’re stuck in traffic. However, painkillers, or other forms of medication, may also cause you to feel drowsy. Fatigue on the road often results in accidents because drivers tend to lose concentration.


Taking mild painkillers could cause dizziness and may be a great source of danger as they could blur your vision, resulting in your not paying attention to the road and its obstacles – resulting in a decrease in your ability to drive steadily.

Paranoia and hallucinations

Medication can make you think you’re going crazy, especially on the road. For example: you may see other cars moving very fast towards you or notice non-existent objects in front of your car, which may force you to step on the brakes without thinking twice. Taking such impulsive action can risk your safety and cause accidents.


Taking medication can make one feel extremely emotional to a point where it causes aggression – which could lead to road rage.Your aggressive moves on the road could result in you being attacked by the driver you provoke. Cutting in front of vehicles or tailing someone who pushed ahead of you may sound trivial, but many drivers have been victims of such aggression – with some cases resulting in unintended deaths or disabilities because some drivers could carry firearms or other harmful weapons.It is essential to avoid unnecessary arguments or physical fights for your own safety.

Impaired judgement

Impaired judgement usually occurs when an individual consumes drugs, alcohol and/or is on a diet etc.Having good judgement helps you to assess risks on the road and avoid hazards, as well as making on-the-spot and/or emergency decisions.Impaired judgement can compromise your safety by exposing you, your passengers and other drivers to the risk of a serious accident.

Carefully examining the side-effects of medication consumption is very important and therefore it is advised that you do not take the wheel after taking medication, unless the intake is moderate. Another important factor to check off your list is to ensure that you’ve eaten before you take medication. Remember to wait for a few hours (preferably 2 hours minimum) before driving and NEVER drink your tablets with any other substance besides water.

For other incidents (unrelated to medication induced cases) that may occur while you are on the road, it is wise to take out comprehensive car insurance cover .


Caxton Central

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