Sleep Aids and Driving: Will You Be Safe the Next Morning?
Truck accident lawyers in Panama City have long warned that sleep aids can be dangerous for drivers. From over-the-counter medications to drugs that require prescriptions, all sleep aid medications have warning labels on them. These labels warn against operating heavy machinery while under their influence—and vehicles are definitely heavy machinery.
So, it seems pretty simple to avoid driving while taking these medications, but what about driving the next morning? Most of these drugs claim to be out of the body by the next morning, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Sure, a person could take one of these medications too late in the evening and expect to be up early the next day with a clear mind, but that would be a poor choice. These situations are uncommon, however.
The real problem that truck accident lawyers in Panama City see is people who take the medications as directed, but who are still affected by the medication many hours after they expect they should be. These residual effects are real, and can be every bit as dangerous as driving under the influence of illicit drugs or alcohol.
The amount of active medication left in the body the next morning varies by the specific drug, weight, sex, and the time the drug was taken, but these residual effects can be very unsafe. They can affect awareness and response time, both of which are critical to safe driving. Just an extra second between noticing a pedestrian and being able to brake or swerve away from him or her could save a life, and with these medications, that second of reaction time may be compromised.
So, what is a responsible driver to do? Take it from a Panama City truck accident lawyer, it is best to do your homework on this one. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about how long the specific medication can actually be active in your system. If you feel impaired by the medication, you should absolutely not be driving. We now know, however, that even if you feel totally normal, you might actually still be impaired.
Thankfully, the FDA has recently informed drug manufacturers that they will be requiring studies on driver drowsiness with all new sleep aids. This doesn’t help with medications that are already on the market, however. Defective product lawyers in Florida have seen some chatter about removing prescription sleep aids from impaired driver statutes, but even if you aren’t liable for the medication, you could still cause irrevocable harm to yourself or others. It simply isn’t worth the risk.
So, if you use a medication for insomnia, be sure to research it thoroughly. Ask your doctor and pharmacist how long it may be active in your body. Be very conscious about your level of impairment, and ask others for their input when they see you in the morning. Friends and family may notice small changes in your behavior that you do not notice yourself. Panama City truck accident lawyers know that being informed and responsible is the best way to avoid an accident, so do what you can to only drive when you are fully awake and sleep aid free.