Most people think of drunk driving when they think of a DUI, or in Massachusetts, an OUI. OUI stands for operating under the influence, which includes both alcohol and prescription and illicit drugs.
Medicated driving is when a person gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after taking medication that alters their faculties enough to make it difficult to operate heavy machinery. This includes both medication prescribed by a doctor or over-the-counter medication. Medicated driving is dangerous and can quickly lead to devastating motor vehicle accidents.
Here’s how prescription drug OUI accidents happen, how to avoid intoxicated drivers, and how personal injury attorneys Mazow | McCullough, PC can help you.
Both prescription and OTC drugs can alter a person’s perception of time and speed. They may feel like they are driving too slowly when they are speeding, or they may feel like they are speeding when they are driving too slowly.
Speeding can both cause and exacerbate OUI accidents. When a medicated person is driving too fast, it’s easier for them to lose control of their car, resulting in a collision with another vehicle or a stationary object like a guard rail or a tree. Speeding also exacerbates injuries; the faster you are driving at the time of an accident, the more severe your injuries are likely to be.
What to Do
Allow drivers who are speeding to go faster than you. If you are on a one-lane road, consider pulling over to let the other driver go around you. It’s typically better in the long run to give an unsafe driver as much space as possible, even if that means you’ll end up being late.
Reckless driving is another common category of beheviors for intoxicated drivers. Certain types of medication can cause dizziness, sleepiness, blurred or double vision, and other cognitive changes that make it difficult to maintain
This includes things like weaving in and out of traffic, swerving, passing vehicles on the right, failure to obey traffic signals, passing in no-passing zones, exhibiting poor awareness of surroundings, and otherwise appearing to be out of control of the vehicle. Other examples of reckless driving include changing lanes without enough clearance or without using a turn signal, ignoring signage and other vehicles on the road, and driving significantly under the speed limit.
What to Do
Pull to the side of the road to see if the other driver will simply go around you. If not, see if you can go around them and pull ahead. Then, you should call the police or 911 to report the driver. Some things to keep in mind:
- Don’t pull over and stop your vehicle. Never unlock your doors or roll down your windows to speak with an intoxicated driver. Even if the driver needs help, your best course of action is to call 911 as quickly as possible.
- Call the police whether you have the other driver’s license plate number or not. Never put yourself in danger to obtain the license plate information of an intoxicated driver. Often, police can use information like the car’s description, where you are, and the direction you’re traveling to track down the driver.
Following Too Close
Intoxicated drivers often follow too closely behind other vehicles, a practice also known as tailgating. Some medications affect depth perception and spatial awareness, and it may make it difficult for the driver to understand how far away their vehicle is from others. They may swerve, revv their engine, honk, and drive with their front bumper just inches away from your back bumper. A driver following you too closely in this manner puts you at a higher risk of a rear-end collision, particularly if you have to stop suddenly.
What to Do
Again, pulling over or going around an intoxicated driver and then reaching out to authorities is arguably the safest reaction. If you’re involved in an accident caused by a medicated driver, you may be able to pursue restitution for your injuries. Drivers have the responsbility to seek alternative transportation or to stay home if they need to take medication that will impact their ability to safely operate a vehicle. Failure to do so is the fault of the driver.
OUI accidents are only one type of motor vehicle collision that can occur on the roads of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Find more information on other types of motor vehicle accidents below.
Contact Car Accident Attorneys Mazow | McCullough, PC Today
At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we understand the nuanced nature of motor vehicle accidents in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. We have the skills and experience to provide you with comprehensive personal injury representation and will fight to obtain the full and fair compensation you deserve after being injured by someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Call today for your consultation by dialing our Salem, MA office at (978) 744-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084.