While most think that driving typically involves using only our hands and feet, our brains are ultimately responsible for controlling both our movement and thoughts when operating a vehicle. If alcohol is added into the mix, it can throw off our bodies not only physically but mentally as well. As studies have shown, alcohol can reduce brain function and impair thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination. All of these effects are why it’s illegal to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after consuming above the legal limit. Learn more about how alcohol affects driving skills here.
Even with a small amount of alcohol, your ability to make rational and responsible decisions is affected. A driver who has been drinking is less likely to comprehend the traffic signs they pass, such as posted signs, traffic lights, and a dangerous driving situation. According to a car accident lawyer in Kansas City, Missouri, “People who drive under the influence and cause harmful collisions can face criminal and civil penalties for their actions.” By not being able to use their logical judgement, the driver may find themselves in life-changing circumstances.
Reaction & Coordination
Alcohol can slow down reflexes and reaction time. Even though alcohol is commonly consumed at celebratory events, it is actually classified as a depressant. Alcohol can depress the central nervous system to the point of slurred speech, unsteady movements, and lessens inhibitions.
As alcohol is consumed, vision can become hazy and negatively affected. Some people will experience blurred or double vision, which can create a dangerous situation as a driver. With eyesight compromised, the driver may not be able to accurately judge the distance of other cars or be able to read traffic signs. According to the NHTSA, “With increasing impairment, you could drift across the centerline, wander from lane to lane, or even run off the roadway.”
Being a depressant, alcohol will trigger drowsiness and fatigue. Being tired will make it harder for the driver to focus on staying in the correct lane and abiding by the posted traffic signs. The inability to focus on where they’re going or where they’re coming from can make it more likely to be involved in a traffic accident.
Driving drunk doesn’t only affect the driver or the passengers in their car. This negligent action impacts everyone traveling on the same road. Abstaining from alcohol and substance use is the only way to fully keep drivers safe on and off the road.