Sadie Says…

Answers to frequently asked questions about safe driving

Q. My friend told me I shouldn’t drive even if I am just taking over-the-counter medications. Is this true?

A: Many medications can have a negative effect on driving. Medications for anxiety, pain and blood pressure, antihistamines and over-the-counter cold remedies can cause drowsiness. Some medications also may cause poor concentration, blurred vision, confusion, dizziness and impaired motor functions.

Of great concern is mixing prescribed medications with over-the-counter medications and/or alcohol. Combinations can lead to a variety of symptoms that negatively affect driving skills.

Driving under the influence is not just about alcohol. If you drive under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter medications or any drug or combination of drugs that impairs your ability to drive safely, you can be arrested for DUI.

• Know your medications.

• Read all instructions provided with medications.

• Take all medications as prescribed.

• Consult your doctor or pharmacist when adding over-the-counter medications.

• Use a primary physician and single pharmacy to organize your medications and health needs.

• If the medication label has a warning not to operate heavy machinery, do not operate a vehicle.

• Discuss alcohol intake with your doctor or pharmacist. Never combine alcohol with medications.

• Consider participating in Yellow Dot.

Pennsylvania’s Yellow DOT Program is designed to make emergency care safer for you in the event of a traffic crash.

Yellow Dot was created to assist in the first hour — the “Golden Hour” — of emergency care following a crash when individuals may not be able to communicate.

A Yellow Dot on the back window of your vehicle alerts first responders to check your vehicle’s glove compartment for vital information that can accurately communicate your medical condition and assist in faster medical care.

To receive information on Yellow Dot, contact the Community Traffic Safety Project at comphwy@chilitech.net or 570-433-0820. You also can visit www.YellowDot.pa.gov.

Be a safe driver.

During December, we recognize Older Driver Safety Week.

Aging and certain medications can each bring about changes in hearing, vision, flexibility, alertness and reaction time. Driver Refresher Courses help compensate for these changes.

Driver Refresher Courses are approved courses that specifically address the safety needs of the older driver. Successful completion of the course may entitle you to a 5 percent discount on your car insurance.

Improve your driving skills. Take a driver safety course offered locally through AAA or AARP.  Safe drivers protect themselves and others.

Finally, always buckle up. Everyone. Every trip. Every time.

“Sadie Says . . .” is brought to you by the Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition’s Safe Communities Task Force, whose members include AAA North Penn, AARP, area agencies on aging and regional transportation and highway safety advocates.