Medicated driving and sleep deprivation –a holiday recipe for a car crash or traffic ticket

Drinking and medicated driving
Over-the-counter meds and drinks — don’t mix!

Recently a woman caused a head-on collision  by turning and driving the wrong way on a major roadway through the center of town at 9:30 pm.

The news reported that drugs and alcohol were definite factors in this crazy accident.  What else could have caused such a preventable car crash?

The comment section went crazy over this driver’s irresponsibility.  Public anger and backlash are understandable, especially if you think of your loved one’s life  being endangered.

One person’s compassionate response stood out above the rest…. Hey, it’s cold and flu season. This lady could have just taken some Nyquil and without thinking had a drink at a holiday party. It could be a case of medicated driving. We don’t know the details…

Can a simple dose of Nyquil (or other similar cold and flu medications) actually contribute to  irrational thinking and a serious car accident?

Well, yes!  Especially if combined with illness, an alcoholic drink,  lack of sleep, and an over-the-counter cold and flu med can be powerful enough to really fog up your mind.

According to, “This medication may cause blurred vision and may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly.”

Sometimes we forget the facts about the effects of just this one med on the human body. It’s not the medication’s fault.

Add in other risk factors, most especially alcohol and sleep-deprivation.  Most of us are highly aware of the risk of taking pain medications with an alcoholic drink.  If we’re smart, we also warn our teens about this risk as they grow older.

However, when you’re not feeling well, but the party’s going to go on without you, you may not give that over-the-counter cough and cold medication a second thought.

Without thinking, you may accidentally dose yourself with the night-time version instead of the non-drowsy formula.

We’re human.  Accidents happen. So does accidental medicated driving.

John Hopkins, Harvard, and WebMD also all cite sleep-deprivation as a serious risk factor in car accidents.

Safe to say — the experts agree on this topic.  The sad truth is, you or a loved one  may not even realize that you fall into this category of sleep deprivation.

“Sleep deprivation can also affect your judgment so that you don’t notice its effects.” (see Hopkins link above).

It’s a road risk factor that plagues all ages. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving accounted for 803 traffic fatalities in 2016.  There were no specific statistic for deaths caused by over-the-counter medicated driving.

We all tend to underestimate our level of tired.

However, younger drivers are more inclined to think of themselves as invincible. If you are under the age of 25, you are at the greatest risk for drowsy driving accidents, according to WebMD.

With lots of holiday travels for the New Year ahead  of us this week, and cold and flu season in full swing, please think twice before you medicate and drive. One at-fault car accident can change your life forever!

Already facing a ticket or charges due to medicated or drowsy driving? You need the aggressive, compassionate help of an experienced traffic lawyer in the greater St. Louis area. The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC  will provide a free initial consultation.

Your traffic attorney can help you reduce points on your license and record to make your 2018 easier and brighter!  Call The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC to get help today. 636-244-3737