Medication plays an important role in assisting us to manage health conditions, but it’s important to be aware of what you’re putting into your body and what side effects you might have. Truck drivers need to be alert and able to respond quickly on the road however sometimes medication can affect our ability to do this. Here are our top tips to make sure you know your medication.
Read the labels on your medication boxes
Not only do the labels on our medications tell us the name and ingredients of what we’re taking and when to take them, but they also sometimes have warning labels on them, particularly if there’s a chance that they may make you drowsy. We know this one sounds pretty simple, but these labels can be small so take a moment to check! Look out for the following labels and check with your pharmacist if you see any of the following:
“This medicine may cause drowsiness and may increase the effects of alcohol. If affected, do not drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery.”1
“This medicine may affect mental alertness and/or coordination. If affected, do not drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery.”1
“This preparation is to aid sleep. Drowsiness may continue the following day. If affected, do not drive or operate machinery. Avoid alcohol.”1
Only take medication that is prescribed to you
Medication is prescribed to each individual person and can have a different effect on you than it does on others. It’s important that you never share your medication with anyone else or take medication that hasn’t been given to you by a health professional.
Listen to your body
You know your own body better than anyone else so pay attention to what it’s telling you! All medication comes with potential side effects; some of the more common side effects that can impact your driving to look out for include:
- Feeling sleepy or tired
- Changes in vision (e.g., blurred, double vision)
- Dizziness, light-headed or faint feeling
- Muscle weakness
- Feel unsteady or anxious
- Changes in mood (e.g., feeling angry)
- Slow reaction time
- Difficulty concentrating or confused
If you do experience any of these side effects from your medication that may affect your driving, speak to your doctor or pharmacist about possible alternatives.
Ask for a medicine check
If you’re reading this and are unsure about the medication that you’re already taking, it’s not too late to check in with your pharmacist or doctor. Next time you’re in the pharmacy that you get your medication from, simply ask the pharmacist for a list of all your medicines, information about their side effects, and whether they can impact your driving. Alternatively, book an appointment with your doctor to discuss this.
We recommend also speaking to your pharmacist or doctor for a medicine check each time you start a new medication or even if the dose of a medication you’ve been taking for a while has changed.
Want to know more?
Check out our Know Your Medications to Stay Alert Toolkit for further information on how to stay safe and alert on our roads.