After a night of drinking, it can be tempting to grab your car keys and head home. However, alcohol affects your driving ability, even when you think you can handle it. Driving requires concentration and attention to details around you, 2 things that are impaired by alcohol consumption. Alcohol can slow down your reaction time, make you dizzy, and even make you fall asleep. When you’re under the influence of alcohol, you no longer have complete control of your body. Driving while intoxicated means you’re endangering your life and the lives of those around you. Read on to learn how alcohol impairs your driving and how dangerous it could be.
Drinking slows reaction time and impairs vision
Reflexes and vision are the first things affected while driving under the influence of alcohol. You’re more likely to experience blurred or double vision effects and slower-than-usual response time. You’re more likely to run a red light, miss a stopping sign, and even fail to avoid another vehicle. Because you’re too drowsy and your reflexes act slower, you’re less likely to act quick enough to avoid a collision.
Alcohol makes it harder to process information
Certain things require your undivided attention when you’re driving, such as staying in your lane, other cars on the road, your speed, and traffic signals. Alcohol impairs your concentration and ability to process information quickly. Since your attention span is dramatically reduced, you’re more likely to be involved in an accident.
Alcohol increases drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea
Heavy drinking affects your motor skills, including eye, hand, and foot coordination. On top of that, if you’re feeling drowsy or dizzy, you might be unable to avoid a harmful situation. If all you’re thinking about while driving is how your head is spinning and you feel nauseous, it’s going to be challenging to concentrate on what’s happening in front of or behind you.
Excessive drinking causes loss of consciousness
After a binge drinking episode, you’re more susceptible to blackouts or periods of loss of consciousness. If you pass out while you’re driving, even for a few seconds, you could be in a fatal accident. In the United States, at least 32 people die every day in car crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.
Drinking increases risky behavior
Your brain controls your judgment and inhibitions. You’re more likely to engage in risky behavior when driving under the influence—for instance, not respecting the speed limit, ignoring traffic lights and signals, overtaking other vehicles, and other actions that could be dangerous.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous
Even a .02 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can cause some loss of judgment and relaxation. Most drunk drivers have at least a .08 BAC and experience poor coordination, loose inhibitions, poor self-control, and memory impairment. Driving after drinking can get you arrested, or worse, you could be involved in a deadly crash accident.
Not to mention, driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) in every state is illegal. Charges go from revoking your driver’s license to over $10,000 in fines and legal fees, and even jail time.
If you’re drinking, being a responsible driver involves having an alternative plan to get a drive back home. Consider using a taxi or ride-share service to go home, or having a designated driver for the night.
If you believe you might have an alcohol abuse problem, consider reaching out for help. Alcoholism can easily destroy your life. Thankfully, alcohol addiction treatment can help you find the best way to find your route to long-lasting sobriety and recovery.