Are You Safe To Drive?

Older lady smiles and looks out the window while driving the car

Road crashes caused by substance impaired driving, occur much more often in New Zealand than previously thought. 

Impaired driving is when your body or emotions have been affected (usually temporarily) in a way that makes you an unsafe driver.  You need to make sure you’re safe to drive before you get in the car.  Most importantly NZ Police will find out if your impairment has caused an accident and charge you accordingly.  And that leads to all kinds of insurance complications!

Medications to watch out for include: strong painkillers, sleeping tablets, medication for depression, heart, allergy, epilepsy, addiction, nausea or anxiety.  In fact, 1 in 4 prescriptions are for medication that can impair driving.  But don’t forget about purchased meds too.  For instance, over-the-counter meds such as Panadeine, Phenergan, Nurofen Plus, SeaLegs, GastroSoothe or Polaramine can have the same effect.

Not being able to drive doesn’t have to disrupt your life.  It’s usually only temporary.  Your pharmacist or GP can help you find alternatives so you’re able to drive again.

When you start a new med, have the "safe to drive" conversation with us.  And consider having the conversation again when your regular dose changes.  Before you jump in the driver’s seat think about whether you have been noticing any of the following symptoms caused by your medication … dizziness, unable to focus, headache, blurred vision, slurred speech, slowed reactions, nausea or feeling easily confused.  On the other side of the coin feeling wired and overconfident may be caused by medication as well!

Nearly 65% of drivers are not aware it’s illegal to drive while being impaired by medication.  Be a responsible user of the road in New Zealand - don’t be a statistic!