Alcohol mixes well with a lot of things—weddings, Memorial Day, and many other special events. For all the situations in which alcohol plays a role in, there is one line you should never cross: driving while under the influence.
Alcohol diminishes nearly every vital component required to drive, including reaction time, coordination, vision, and judgement. This article explains how alcohol impairs your ability to drive and the dangers of drinking and driving. Remember, every time you drive, you’re responsible for yourself and others on the road.
The Perils of Driving Under the Influence
Alcohol impacts vital motor skills required to drive safely, and the loss of these motor skills ultimately causes accidents that harm yourself and others. Alcohol acts as a depressant on the central nervous system, which makes it more difficult for signals sent from the brain to reach your muscles. This deteriorates your awareness of pain in the event of an accident, and more notably affects your coordination and reaction time.
Tasks that require focus and attention are affected when you drink. The inaccuracy of information that’s sent to your central nervous system causes a loss of coordination and slows your reaction time significantly. Promptly slamming on your brakes in an emergency becomes nearly impossible when you’re driving under the influence. In fact, research shows that your level of alertness to stimuli can be affected at a blood alcohol concentration as little as .03. Your ability to identify potential driving hazards, as well as estimate distances, is significantly reduced after drinking as well.
The vision-altering effects of alcohol include blurred vision, a narrower field of vision, and slow pupil reactions, which makes reacting to oncoming headlights challenging. A drunk driver is also unable to process shades of gray. Driving in the dark or during foggy weather while drunk is especially unwise.
Another aspect to alcohol is that it raises the levels of GABA neurotransmitters in the brain, which are thought to aid in relaxation and lower stress levels. According to Psychology Today, alcohol can also initially increase levels of norepinephrine, a chemical in your brain that lowers inhibition and promotes feelings of elation. This is a part of the reason you may consider driving after a night of excessive drinking, and alcohol can also contribute to an underlining issue: poor decision-making.
Don’t let mistakes from the past dictate your actions in the future. If you have driven under the influence, seek help from an auto insurance company to help you get insured and your license reinstated.
GET ALERTS on Facebook.com/CardinalEmergencies
GET ALERTS on Facebook.com/ArlingtonCardinal
Stay informed with news from PublicSafetyReporter.com’s Emergencies Behind the Scenes Facebook page — Facebook.com/CardinalEmergencies.