How Alcohol Impairs Driving

There is no doubt that alcohol consumption affects one’s driving. When driving, you need to focus on keeping your eyes on the road, reacting to changing road conditions, and controlling your vehicle. By drinking and driving, you hamper your ability to control the steering wheel, brakes, gas pedal, and just about every different aspect of your car. Indeed, the effect of alcohol on driving can be quite detrimental.

Reaction Time and Physical Impact

There is an abundance of research that shows how alcohol affects the brain and how it reduces your reaction time.

Studies have shown that a person’s reaction time increases from 1.5 seconds to 3 seconds when blood alcohol content (BAC) reaches 0.08. So if it normally takes you 1.5 seconds to react to something, then you will be taking 3 seconds to react with alcohol in your system.

The brain is part of the Central Nervous System (CNS) and it’s made up of billions of neurons, which form a network that carries information to the neck and arms, trunk, legs, skeletal muscles, and internal organs.

While intoxicated, a driver’s muscle coordination is reduced, and is very likely to respond incorrectly to his or her environment. This means if you’re driving while intoxicated and you see the traffic lights turn red, there’s a chance you will not step on the brakes and accelerate instead. You may not even respond at all because you are not focused on the task at hand. This is extremely dangerous for you, your passengers, and the other drivers and pedestrians on the road. Every day, 28 people in the US die due to alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes. That’s one death every 51 minutes.

Research also shows that a BAC of 0.05 or higher can already affect a driver’s ability to do something as basic as steering and braking.

Making Bad Decisions

Because the connections between the prefrontal cortex and the ventral striatum of a teenager’s brain are still maturing, alcohol can easily affect those connections and hamper a teen’s ability to reason and make the right choices.

Intoxicated teenagers will likely take risks they would not usually take such as having unprotected sex, or drinking and driving. Both are dangerous, and the latter even more so. More often than not, drunk teenagers behind the wheel may not even know they’re impaired and will continue to drive thinking everything is fine. Reckless decisions such as driving too fast or making frequent lane changes are typical of a drunk driver, and that puts a lot of people in danger.

As you can see in the table above, BAC of 0.02 can affect a person’s decision-making abilities, so don’t drink and drive! Here is a short Arizona MVD Practice Test on Alcohol and Drugs. Take the test and see how much you know!

How do Drugs Affect Driving?

Alcohol is not the only drug that can affect your ability to drive safely. Many illicit drugs create effects that impair your senses, making it difficult to drive. Even common prescription drugs or over the counter drugs may make you drowsy and make driving dangerous.

Different drugs affect the body differently, but while certain drugs may not make you feel drowsy, they will still impair you in other ways. It’s also important to note that our bodies will react differently to drugs as we grow older.

If You’ve Been Charged With DUI, contact Alex Lane

If you are facing DUI charges, the best thing to do is to find the right legal representation.

For a free consultation, call the offices of Alex Lane. Our number is 480-776-5757.

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