How Drugs Can Affect Your Driving

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Consuming drugs, whether prescribed, over-the-counter, legal, or illegal may affect your driving abilities. Causing an accident in such a case will be considered a DUI. Even though the best advice is to stay away from driving when taking drugs or mix them with alcohol, here is some useful information about the impact drugs can have on your driving. If you were involved or caused a DUI crash, make sure to talk to a Portland DUI attorney as soon as possible.

How Drugs Impact Driving

No matter if you consume a small dose, drugs can reduce your driving skills. For instance, cannabis may slow you down, make you drowsy and sleepy, cause you difficulties staying in the designated lanes. Stimulants on the other hand, like cocaine or amphetamines, can lead to erratic driving, speeding, believing that you can do anything on the road, when in fact you will only cause accidents.

Prescription medication

People who take prescribed medication should be always aware of the potential driving risks. Make sure to read about the warnings that the pharmaceutical company has listed. Some medications aren’t suitable for driving or operating heavy machinery. If your medication makes you dizzy, drowsy, aggressive, light-headed, nauseous, or shaky, then you shouldn’t sit behind the wheel. This can affect your reflexes, vision, and ability to focus.

Ask your doctor or a pharmacist if the said medication is suitable for driving and always read (and keep) the labels and follow the directions and warnings. Make sure to find another way of transportation.


Depressants like benzodiazepines, alcohol, opioid drugs (heroin, cannabis, and oxycodone) are slowing the central nervous system. If you take several depressants or opioids, the effect can multiply and lead to lowered focus, reduced reaction times, drowsiness, problems with processing information, difficulty doing more than one thing at a time (for instance keeping your car in its lane while looking at oncoming traffic).


Stimulant drugs like cocaine or amphetamine, on the other hand, speed up the activity of your central nervous system. Mixing several stimulants will only multiply this effect, creating even bigger stress to your body, especially to the vital organs such as your heart. A mix of stimulants can lead to aggressive and dangerous driving, increased risk-taking behavior, over-confidence in driving skills, problems with focus, and a tendency to fidget.


LSD, magic mushrooms, and mescaline will distort your perception of reality. Cannabis and MDMA may also have hallucinogenic effects. Taking these drugs leads to hearing things that aren’t there or experiencing reality in a distorted way. The effects vary and if you combine two or more psychedelic drugs, the effects can be unpredictable when it comes to driving. You may feel confused, have blurred vision, hallucinate, and have reduced coordination.

Risks of Mixing Drugs

It’s often difficult to know how drug combinations will affect you. No matter if you mix legal or illegal drugs or a mix of drugs with alcohol – the outcome won’t be pleasant. Not only it’s a huge stress for your health and organs, but if you decide to drive, it can be a risk for your own life and the lives of other people on the streets.

The risk of ending in an accident is much higher than when driving sober. If you mix cannabis and alcohol, you will be impaired much faster than if you only use one of these.

Drug combining leads to reduced coordination and limiting your driving abilities. For example, if you’ve been drinking alcohol and used amphetamines, you might not feel the depressant effects of alcohol, since the stimulant is much stronger and will mask alcohol’s effects.

So, you might feel capable of driving and feel sober, but in fact, you’re very much intoxicated. If you decide to drink or use drugs (prescribed or not prescribed, leave your car keys at home).

Contact a Portland DUI Lawyer

Even if the effects of drugs or alcohol may appear as if they have worn off, they may remain in your system for hours. Even if you feel sober and capable of driving, it’s best not to. Even the following day you may feel tired and believe that you’re hungover, but in reality, the effect of alcohol and drugs is still present, so driving shouldn’t be your option. It’s best to talk to a health professional and read the package info or a Consumer Medication Information sheet before deciding to mix alcohol, medication, and other drugs.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs, our team at Trilogy Law Group is here to help you with your case.

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