Drunk driving: effects on your body and driving behavior

April 5, 2013

On average, a drunk driver has driven under the influence of alcohol 80 times before the first arrest, reports MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). Everyday nearly 30 people in the U.S are killed in motor vehicle crashes involving a drunk driver.

Impact of Alcohol on Judgment:

don't drink and drive sign

Accidents due to alcohol-impaired driving are caused when the BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) in a person rises to 0.08 grams or more. This might happen after a heavy episode of drinking or binge drinking. Such episodes of heavy drinking result in a decline of cognitive ability or in simpler terms, make it thoroughly impossible for someone to think straight.

  • Driving involves flexible multitasking. Safe driving behavior requires a person to stay alert and react to the conditions of the road. Alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to concentrate on more than one task.
  • Consuming alcohol can relax a person and cause them to continue drinking. Excessive drinking can lead to loss of coordination, sedation, confusion, coma, and death in some cases.
  • Alcohol weakens the driver’s ability to understand the information supplied by signs and signals and react promptly to them.
  • Driving under the influence weakens the ability to coordinate motor skills, from fine motor skills like putting the key in the ignition to gross motor skills like walking to the car.
  • Alcohol reduces visual acuity up to 32%, affects peripheral vision and thwarts the ability to judge depth and distance (position of car).
  • Driving under the influence also slows down reaction time by 15-25%, elevating the risk of crashes and accidents.

stay alive don't drink and drive sign

How Can You Prevent Alcohol-Impaired Driving?

Although alcohol impaired driving is just one of the causes of traffic crashes, it is the only one that can be prevented easily.

  • Posting appropriate signs and signage at strategic locations (parking lots, outside clubs, restaurants etc) is the first step in preventing a drunk driver from getting behind the wheel.
  • Appoint a designated driver when you’re going out and plan to drink. Other times, volunteer to be a designated driver.
  • Do not let friends let drive drunk. Take their keys and encourage them to spend the night at your place or take a taxi home.
  • Respect your friends’ choice not to drink. Do not force them.
  • If you’re hosting a party, stop offering drinks after a specific time so that your guests have some time to sober up before they decide to drive. You can also offer non-alcohol drinks like lemonade, iced tea, or fun ‘mocktails.’

If you’d like to test your knowledge on driving and driving, you can take our quiz here.


Category: Miscellaneous

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