Drinking alcohol, taking prescription medicines and driving a car are three everyday things people do. Done alone and appropriately, they are fine. Yet when you combine the three, they can have several unanticipated and unwelcome consequences.
If you’ve never stopped to consider how these things interact, here’s what you should know:
They can affect your ability to drive safely
Many medicines have labels that warn people not to mix them with alcohol because of a potentially dangerous reaction between substances in the alcohol and ingredients in the drug. You might not see those warnings if you do not read the full instructions.
Some drugs, such as antihistamines, which many people take in summer to combat allergies, make you drowsy. Driving on them is not recommended, but it is even worse if you also have a drink, as alcohol also makes you sleepy. So the combination makes it much more likely you drift or lose control of the vehicle due to drowsiness at the wheel.
Anything that affects your driving makes it more likely the police stop you
Other than sobriety checkpoints, the police need a reason to give you a breath or blood test. They cannot know that you mixed medication with alcohol before stopping you and talking to you. What they can see is any effect the combination has on your driving.
If you are slow to leave a red light or drift across the road due to the combined effects of medication and alcohol, the police are more likely to pull you over and test you. Even if you test below the limit, they could charge you due to the driving behavior they witnessed.
Some medications could push you over the limit
Some prescription medicines, such as certain cough medicines, actually contain alcohol. That could combine with anything you have drunk to cause a higher blood alcohol content reading if you’re tested.
If you believe your prescription medication combined with alcohol to land you a DUI charge, get legal help to look at your defense options.