Just like any other drug, Valium, also known by its generic name diazepam, delivers various effects to the brain and the body. Diazepam is a benzodiazepine that is popularly used by people who want to combat feelings of anxiety and gain relaxation. While this drug can be effective when rightfully used, many people also tend to abuse this drug for recreation.
Because of the increasing number of people taking antianxiety drugs like diazepam, it is no surprise why questions on whether it is safe to take the drug while doing normal day-to-day activities surfaced. One of the most commonly asked questions is whether it is safe to drive when under the effects of Valium. Are there any risks of accidents while driving after taking a pill?
Why people take Valium before driving
Not everyone who questions whether it is safe to take Valium and then drive are recreational users or addicts. Believe it or not, some people actually take Valium deliberately because of the misguided belief that this drug will make them better drivers.
Driving in the city, especially during rush hour can be very stressful. The traffic, the number of cars, and even other careless drivers can push you to your limits. Some people become so stressed that they even get involved in arguments on the road. In fact, incidents of road rage have claimed so many lives not only in the US, but also all over the world. Because diazepam is an antianxiety drug that provides calming effects, there are people who believe that taking Valium will make the driving experience more tolerable. There are Valium users who believe that calmer drivers could also mean less road rage incidents.
Valium is also a popular drug taken by student drivers who are scared of failing a driving test. Students often feel severe anxiety and nervousness during the tests which becomes a reason for them to commit careless mistakes that they wouldn’t normally make. For student drivers who failed multiple times because of nervousness, they turn to diazepam to help them become calmer and more relaxed. However, taking Valium before a driving exam is not only limited to repeat takers, even students who are taking the test for the very first time may take a pill as an insurance not to fail.
Of course, there are also people who do not intentionally take Valium right before they need to drive. For example, a person who is currently on a valid prescription may be faced with an emergency where he needs to use his car and drive. Whether it is safe for him to do so then becomes a question.
Why driving on Valium should be avoided
While it is true that Valium provides relaxing and sedative effects that may curb your anxiety when driving, it is also for these reasons why you should avoid operating a vehicle while still feeling the drug’s effects. In one study, experts recommended that you should refrain from driving at least 5 to 7 hours after taking Valium.
Keep in mind that every person has a different reaction to different drugs and what this means is that taking diazepam might affect your reflexes more than the average person. When you’re driving, you need all your psychomotor skills functioning properly. Driving on Valium can cause you to be less mindful of your environment which could lead to unfortunate accidents.
Another important thing to take note of is that if you have consumed alcohol or other drugs, do not take diazepam and vice versa. Mixing it with other substances like alcohol tends to heighten the sedative effects of diazepam and the other substances as well. This could even lead to serious side effects including dizziness, confusion, breathing problems, slowed heart rate, brain damage, and even death.
For people who are getting diazepam from illicit sources and not from a legitimate pharmacy, there is the danger of not really knowing what’s in the pill that you’re buying. If you try to buy drugs from social media, you are risking of getting fake Valium which may be mixed with other substances, including the deadly synthetic opioid Fentanyl. These counterfeit pills can cause unknown effects which can further affect your driving ability.
You might think that by taking Valium before driving, you are protecting yourself from the negative effects of anxiety, but in reality, doing so is not only endangering yourself but also risking the lives of other people on the road.
If you are struggling with substance abuse, help is available. Contact Anaheim Lighthouse to learn more.