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Prescription Medicine, Drugs and Driving

This can often be a confusing issue. Whether we like it or not, at some point we’re going to end up taking some form of medication. Perhaps it’s just something from the shelf at your local pharmacy, known as Over The Counter (OTC) to treat the symptoms of the Common Cold, or perhaps it’s something your doctor prescribed to you for either a short-term illness or for something chronic and long-term.

Regardless of what it’s for, have you ever stopped to think if you should be driving while taking it? The wording of the rules may be different from country to country, but under the Criminal Code of Canada, a person cannot operate, be in care of or control a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or a drug.

There is no wiggle room here.

If your doctor prescribed you a medication that in any way affects your physical abilities or reflexes or affects your cognitive abilities, you are not legally able to drive. Now in most cases, your prescription medication isn’t going to affect you in such a way but some do, especially pain killers. As a rule, ask your doctor for advice.

This doesn’t just hold true for prescription medications but also for over the counter medicines like those used for treating Cold symptoms (ie. Nyquil or Benadryl) that help you sleep. Yes, drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Ask your pharmacist and read the warning labels and see how the medication affects you before you attempt to drive.

CBD Oil

The same goes for Cannabis. Just because it’s legal now in many American States and nationally in Canada, it doesn’t mean you can smoke, consume, ingest, or in any way absorb it, and then operate a vehicle. It doesn’t matter how legal it is or even if you have a prescription for it.

Yes, it’s true that CBD doesn’t have the same effect as THC, but it still makes changes to the body. Each person needs to figure out how it affects them personally, but it’s important to realize that if police perform a drug test and they detect cannabis in your system, you’re in for some serious legal trouble.

Remember that driving is a privilege. Just because it’s legal to take certain drugs or medicines, it does not give you the right to drive if it impairs you physically or mentally. It’s not just a driving offence…it’s a criminal one, and having a criminal record can follow you for life and also prohibit you from visiting many countries.

Check Your Nuts!

Hopefully by now everyone have switched to Winter tires but have you checked your lug nuts since they were switched? Well if you haven’t switched to Winter tires yet, you’re long overdue but it’s not too late and that’s something you should get done as soon as possible. The next thing to think about is making sure your nuts are tight.

All tire nuts need to be torqued to a specific tightness. If they are too loose, they could unwind on the stud and fall off leaving nothing to stop your wheel from flying off. If they are too tight, they could snap the studs and again, your wheel could fly off.

It’s not something we tend to think about but we’ve all heard a story on the news of some driver loosing a wheel and many times that rogue wheel causes a lot of damage, injuries and even death to others on or near the roadway.


If you take your vehicle to a mechanic, tire shop or a dealership, they will will tighten your nuts properly. If you change your own tires, refer to your manual for the proper specs for your vehicle. If you are unsure, TireRack.com has a nice guide for your reference which you can find by clicking here.

What’s important to realize is that you should have your nuts re-checked 80-150km afterwards. It’s very common for nuts to become loose due to metal expanding and contracting from vast temperature changes that your wheels are subjected too. It only needs to be done once and takes two minutes. Call the place/person who changed your tires for you and drop in to have your nuts re-torqued. If they try and charge you for it…go somewhere else and never go back.