Alcohol is not the only substance that can impair your driving ability. Other substances, including illicit drugs and medications, can affect you in various ways that can decrease your ability to operate a motor vehicle.
According to AAA, alcohol and drugs can affect driving skills such as attention, coordination, judgment, perception and reaction time. The effects on your ability may be different with various substances, but the result is impairment. Here are some of the risks associated with different types of substances.
Illicit drugs are either substances that are illegal or medications sold without a prescription for a reason other than medical treatment. You do not always know what is in the drugs. Dealers may make substitutions or cut the drugs with ingredients that they do not disclose. Not knowing what is in the drugs makes it more difficult to determine how they could affect your driving ability.
Prescription medications can cause side effects that can affect your driving ability. They always come with instructions from your doctor, and you should review these to determine whether or not you can drive safely while taking them. If you should not, this should be explicit on the label.
While there are fewer restrictions on over-the-counter medications, some can still produce symptoms such as drowsiness that can affect driving ability. As with prescription medications, you should check the label before taking an OTC medicine to see if you should refrain from driving while taking it.
While alcohol is the substance most commonly associated with impaired driving, you can still face charges if law enforcement finds sufficient evidence of impairment from other substances.