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Drugs and Driving

Alcohol use is not the only thing that will impair a driver.  Drugs, whether they are illegal or prescription, will put the impaired driver and other drivers on the road in extreme detriment.  If you are under the influence of drugs while operating a motor vehicle, you may face the same penalties as those imposed for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Prescription drugs should be taken with caution if you know you will be operating a motor vehicle.  Some prescription and over-the-counter drugs, such as antidepressants and even cold medications, contain ingredients that might make you drowsy or dull your senses which can lead to motor vehicle accidents.  

The Virginia DMV makes the following recommendations if you are under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter medications:

  • Avoid driving if you're not sure how a drug will affect you.
  • Take medications only at prescribed levels and dosages.
  • Do not drive when you feel ill, tired or disoriented.
  • Never combine medication and alcohol while driving.
  • Consult with your doctor or pharmacist about medications that may impair driving.
  • In case of an emergency, carry a list of all medications you are taking, including names and dosages


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