Medicines and driving

01 Jun
01Jun check the label on medicines and the patient information
leaflet for any warnings.

There are many common drugs that have side effects that may
impair your driving ability such as:
 Sleeping tablets
 Sedatives, tranquillisers or other medicines for anxiety
 Some pain killers
 Some allergy or hay-fever medicines
 Many cough and cold remedies
 Some medicines for epilepsy
 Some medicines for diabetes
 Some medicines for blood pressure or heart conditions
 Some herbal remedies or supplements

Some medicines can make you feel fatigued. You may have impaired cognitive functioning or they make affect your confidence and emotional state.

Illicit drugs

Illicit drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy affect drivers in different ways such as slower reaction times, aggressive behaviour, poor concentration, panic attacks and paranoia. As the effects of these drugs wear off, drivers may feel extremely fatigued.

Daily Stress Events

Stressors are generated by day-to-day events, e.g. work related
issues, relationship difficulties, financial matters and family
matters. It is important to manage these stress events in order to
minimise their impact on your driving. Contact your line
manager to discuss any stress events that could have a negative
impact on your driving.

Personal safety

A well-maintained and regularly-serviced vehicle is less likely to break down and leave you stranded. Join a reliable breakdown organisation. Your employer may
have done this for you.
Take a mobile phone with you for emergencies. Make sure the phone is fully charged before your journey. In general do not pick up hitchhikers or offer lifts to people you do not know.
Keep valuables and bags out of sight and out of reach.
Keep the car doors locked while driving in slow moving or stationary traffic if you feel vulnerable.

Always lock the door when you are away from the vehicle – even when paying for fuel.

Safe Parking

The golden rule is to make sure that others can see you and that you do not park in an isolated place. Always consider the position of the vehicle on the other side of your intended space. Think about pulling in your wing mirrors,
 but remember to pull them out again before driving off. Put all valuable items out of sight, e.g. in the boot before leaving your vehicle. Lock all doors, windows and the sunroof. Listen and look around before getting out of your vehicle.  Note the location of the street. where you park. Think about the time you will be returning to your vehicle – a safe place during the day may be very different at night. Under no circumstances should headlights be left on when the vehicle is parked. If needed consider using side or parking lights. Choose a car park or parking space that is close to your final destination.

If possible, choose a location that:

 Is visible to other people
 Is in an open area, so that you have a good all-round view
 Is well-lit
 Is not close to bushes or dark corners
 Allows you to reverse into your chosen space, so you can
drive out more safely
 Allows you to park next to a fixed object (where possible or
practical) to minimise the risk of damage to your vehicle

If using a car park:

 Note what time the car park closes
 Note the level you parked on [write it on your ticket]
 Lock your doors and close the windows as you enter the car
 In multi-storey car parks choose a space that is:
 Near the manned kiosk, if there is one
 Close to the exit level required

When returning to the vehicle:

If you are alone, try to follow a group
 Approach the vehicle with your keys in your hand so you can
get in quickly if necessary
 Check the vehicle as you approach. If there are any signs of it
having being tampered with, do not get in – call the Gardai
 If you have one, keep a personal attack alarm to hand – it’s
no good at the bottom of a bag!

Dealing with Potentially Aggressive Behaviour

Avoid getting into conflict with another driver. Responding to another driver’s aggression or challenge could put you at risk of injury or worse.

If you accidentally cause another driver to become angry – hold
up your whole hand as a friendly acknowledgement of your
mistake – this can diffuse the situation.
Do not overreact to, or panic about, another driver’s error, bad
driving or poor attitude. They may be unaware of their actions.
Stay away from them and concentrate on your own driving, safely
and responsibly.
If your mood is affected by an incident during your journey, once
you have moved away from any danger, find an opportunity to
stop and take time out.
Never put yourself or your passengers in danger by getting out of
the car to deal with an angry or aggressive driver. If confronted
with potentially violent situation, remain in the car with the
windows closed and door locked. Stay calm and think logically. If
necessary, call for help on a mobile phone (not while driving).
Do not make gestures, flash headlights or sound the horn. This
may make the situation worse. It will also distract you.
Do not make eye contact with an angry or aggressive driver as
this has the potential to make the situation worse.
If you find you are being followed by an impatient driver
(tailgated) – do not allow yourself to be “pushed” along,
intimidated or made to increase your speed. Without actually
pulling over or stopping – find a safe opportunity to allow that
driver to pass.
Do not allow an aggressive driver to follow you home.

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