Medications and Driving

Roadwise RX

Usually when people think of impaired driving, they think of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or illicit drugs. Impairment can also be caused by medications such as prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs used to treat pain, cold symptoms, and allergies. Some medications, when taken alone or in combination, can have the same impairing effects as alcohol or illicit drugs. Similarly, the penalty for driving under the influence of medication carries the same penalty as a DUI in some states.

While most medications do not interfere with the ability to drive safely, potential side effects that can directly impair motorist’s driving ability include:

  • Anxiety
  • Blurred Vision
  • Chest Pain
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Nausea

Driving is a complex task, but motorists can drive safely and take their medication.

Roadwise Rx is a free, informative and innovative tool developed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that motorist can use to see how their medication can affect safe driving. Roadwise Rx highlights the potential driving effects of your medications, in addition to showing users the potential interactions their medications may have with other medications or with common foods.

RoadWise Rx

Follow 3 Simple Steps


Simply begin typing in the name of your medication, prescription or over-the-counter, by its brand or generic name. Roadwise Rx will provide you a list of matching medications from which you can select your medication with one quick click. Users can enter multiple medications, as well as herbal supplements.

Receive customized feedback on the medications you take that can potentially impair your ability to drive safely.

After getting your confidential results, you can print or e-mail them to share with your doctor or pharmacist, rather than bringing your health care provider a brown paper bag with your medications and supplements. Roadwise Rx allows you to “virtually” pool your medications for a more efficient and thorough review.

In addition, you can print out and keep a copy of your medication list in your purse or wallet, so it’s available in the event of an emergency. Having a detailed, easily accessible list of medications and dosages can be a lifesaving measure.

Bring your medication listing and your Roadwise Rx results to your doctor, who can help you optimize your medication dosage and timing to maximize your ability to drive safely.

Learn more about the potentially impairing side effects of medication, understanding medicine labels, and how you can stay safe on the road below.

Medication prescribed by a health professional that is meant to be taken by the individual for whom it is prescribed. Rx medications have labels indicating the patient’s name, name of the substance, quantity to be dispensed, method of administration, frequency of use, number of refills, and an expiration date. Most prescription medications have some type of side effect that can range from mild to severe.

Common Prescription Medications

  • Pain Medication
  • Muscle Relaxants
  • Anti-inflammatory Medication
  • Stimulants
  • Antihistamines
  • Sedatives


Non-prescription medication can be purchased at pharmacies or drug stores and are considered safe to use without the oversight of a health professional. Over-the-counter medications have labels detailing who should take it, and how to use it. The label also contains information with the expiration date, amount of product in the package, details about the manufacturer, and instructions for what to do if an overdose occurs. Over-the-counter medications come in various forms which include liquids, capsules, powders and tablets.

Common Over-the-Counter Medications

  • Cold and Flu Medication
  • Appetite Suppressants
  • Sleep Aids
  • Fever Reducers
  • Stimulants
  • Allergy Relief