Driving any vehicle under the influence of alcohol is a serious and punishable crime. Drinking while driving is usually called “driving under the influence (DUI)” or “driving while intoxicated (DWI).” Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent slows down your reflexes and hand-eye coordination, but what most people don’t realize is that any amount of alcohol can lead to accidents. Some drivers may not even seem drunk, but that does not mean that it is safe for them to drive. It’s important to note that any form of driving under the influence is illegal and comes with firm punishment.
Drunk Driving Statistics
In America, there are about 28 people who die in alcohol-related accidents every single day. In 2014, alcohol-related accidents killed almost 10,000 Americans. Moreover, about 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence in the same year. In 2016, things got worse. Ten thousand four hundred ninety-seven people died due to alcohol-impaired driving, which accounted for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S.
Effects of Alcohol on Driving Skills
The effects of alcohol vary depending on how much a person has consumed, but one thing is for sure; alcohol puts a person at risk of accidents and injuries. Safe driving involves total concentration, undivided attention, and good judgment, which get impaired when you are drunk. It also puts everyone around you at risk, especially if you drive your friends home. So how does alcohol affect your driving skills? Refer to the list below:
- Slow Reaction: Alcohol reduces your ability to respond fast to different events. It slows your response skills and increases the risk of vehicle accidents. To illustrate this situation, if a car in front of you stops, it will take you some time to process the situation.
- Lack of Coordination: Too much alcohol in your system affects how your eyes, hands, brain, and feet coordinate with one another. Without the essential coordination skills, you might end up in a dangerous situation. Some of the signs may include swaying and the inability to walk straight.
- Poor Vision: Clear vision is essential in driving, but excessive alcohol intake affects how a driver gauges the space between their vehicle and the one in front. Also, the driver may not see the objects around them or the ones visible in their peripheral vision.
- Poor Concentration: Driving requires focus. A driver must stay in their lane, follow the speed limit, and observe the signs of the surrounding vehicles. But if they are intoxicated, their attention span will decline, which increases the risk of an accident.
- Poor Judgment: Your brain controls how you create judgment in particular situations. When you are driving, your judgment skills play a crucial role in safety. For example, you are drunk, and the car ahead of you cuts you off. Impaired judgment reduces your alertness and awareness of your surroundings, which can lead to a road accident.
Accidents Caused by Drunk Drivers
In small or big amounts, alcohol intake has a massive impact on the driver’s judgment, reaction, coordination, and perspective. In short, a drunk driver often makes poor decisions that cause road accidents. Here are some of the common accidents caused by intoxicated drivers:
- Wrong-way Wrecks: Most of the time, a drunk driver can barely read or comprehend traffic signs. Because of this, they end up committing traffic violations, such as counterflow driving and one-way traffic violations.
- Pedestrian Accidents: The sad thing about drunk driving is when the accident involves an innocent individual. Due to the driver’s impaired sight, they may not see a pedestrian crossing the streets. If the victim suffers a severe injury, they are entitled to call a lawyer specializing in pedestrian accidents.
- Rear-end Collisions: When a person is drunk, their ability to estimate distances is also affected. Additionally, their reaction time declines notably. The driver may not step on the brakes when the car in front of them starts to slow down or stops abruptly. They may also think that they can safely slow down whenever they can, but the truth is, they can’t.
- Head-on Collisions: The effects of alcohol may differ from one person to another. But most drunk drivers may fall asleep while driving, causing them to collide with the car ahead of them. Moreover, the driver’s impaired sight may cause them to disregard traffic signs and signals, leading the vehicle to a wreck.
Practice Safe Driving
Drinking alcohol is something that most adults do to relax after a stressful day at work. But what we must remember is that irresponsible drinking can destroy lives. Do not let alcohol ruin your life. If you are going for a drink, leave your car at home and take a taxi instead.