Dangers of Driving While Under the Influence

How Alcohol Impairs Your Driving Abilities

From the time they are young, people hear about the danger of driving under the influence. And yet it is still a significant problem throughout the country. Many people think that because they feel fine, they are safe to drive. However, the effects of drugs or alcohol may not be visibly noticeable but may still be causing impairment that makes it dangerous for them to get behind the wheel.

Approximately 10.3 million people aged 12 or older responded that they had driven under the influence of illegal drugs during the previous year according to the 2012 National Survey of Drug Use and Health, notes the National Institute on Drug Abuse. However, 29.1 million reported driving under the influence of alcohol. These people are putting not only themselves in danger, but others as well. There are many dangers of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  • Slower reaction time: Drugs and alcohol can reduce your reaction time. This means that although you may know that you need to push the breaks, or move to the left or right, the time it takes you to actually do this is longer. It may take you longer to register that something is a potential hazard as well. This could increase your risk of hitting something or someone. Having a slower reaction time is not something that you would necessarily realize is occurring because you may not feel much differently.
  • Poor decisions or judgments: Under the influence, your ability to make sound decisions is impaired. What you know is a bad idea while you are substance-free, may not seem so bad when you have taken drugs or alcohol. These decisions can have life-threatening results. Vehicles have the ability to create major damage.
  • Altered perceptions: Certain substances can affect your vision and coordination, as well as perception of distance or time. This may result in driving too fast or too slow, not staying in the proper lane, misjudging distance to the next car or to other objects, and more. If your vision is distorted, this can lead to problems reading road signs or seeing obstacles.
  • Risk to self and others: Impaired driving not only puts the driver at risk, but also others in their path. Blowing through a stop sign or red light, making a wide turn, not seeing a pedestrian or bicyclist, or running off the side of the road can all result in serious accidents.
  • Legal ramifications: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol puts drivers at risk for legal penalties. This could include hefty fines, points on their license, suspension or revoking of their license, or even jail time. If someone else is injured due to their negligence, this can also create many issues.

Driving under the influence can lead to many problems. Unfortunately many people do not realize how they are affected by these substances and how that may impair their driving. They may feel fine and think they have complete control, when in reality they do not. Having a designated driver is always a good idea and can lead to better safety. Recognizing how drugs and alcohol are affecting your life and your decisions is also beneficial.

If you have driven while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it may be time to rethink the path you are on. Consider your own health and safety and that of others. Chapters Capistrano can help you to overcome addiction and begin a new, substance-free chapter in your life. Find out more about the flexible treatment options and relapse prevention planning available through our comprehensive care by calling 949-276-2886.

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Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance use disorder, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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