Most people worry about alcohol when they think about impaired driving. Of course, given that Colorado was the first state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana, some people also worry about marijuana impairment in themselves or others on the road.
Fewer people stop to think about what impact their prescription medications could have on their driving ability. It's all too common for people to assume that they can legally drive after taking a medication because the drug itself is legally prescribed or available over the counter.
Colorado's impaired driving laws apply not only to those who have consumed alcohol or marijuana before driving but also to those who use certain prescription medications.
Any drug that makes you sleepy, slows your movement, causes dizziness or nausea, alters your behavior or affects your thinking could impact how safely you drive. Antidepressants, anti-epileptic drugs, anti-psychotic medications, sleep aids, muscle relaxants, pain medications like opioids and even anti-diarrhea drugs could all affect how safe you are at the wheel.
In fact, even over-the-counter medicines like cough syrup could affect your driving. Any medication that comes with a warning about driving or operating heavy machinery is something you shouldn't take before getting behind the wheel. Even if you develop a tolerance for the medication, you will have a hard time proving you can drive safely while using the drug.
If police officers pull you over and you admit to taking that medication or they test you and confirm its presence, you could find yourself facing impaired driving charges. Understanding when police might arrest you for impaired driving can help you avoid making a big mistake.