Effects Of Drugs & Alcohol On Driving
It should not be any secret to the vast majority of drivers that in order to drive effectively, you need to be alert and able to make quick decisions and reactions. Unfortunately, drivers who have chosen to use drugs and alcohol before getting behind the wheel have altered the normal functioning of their brain. This can lead to changes in their ability to be effective behind the wheel. Anything that speeds you up or slows you down can certainly change the way you see and perceive things, many times affecting your driving and leading to tragic and avoidable consequences. Here are some effects of drugs and alcohol on driving.
Using Alcohol & Depressants:
Alcohol is basically a depressant drug, which means that it slows everything down. It blunts alertness and reduces your coordination, making it much more difficult to react quickly when this is needed. Many times, vision is effected, with blurriness or even double vision reported. Depth perception is also altered, which can it make it difficult to tell exactly where other vehicles, objects, and even people are located (close or far).
When alcohol users attempt to drive, many times they feel overconfident. This leads to more incidents of careless or reckless driving including weaving in and out, speeding, and even driving off the road (or going in and out of the proper lane. There are also many types of sedatives and pain killers (even prescription based drugs) that can affect driving ability in ways similar to alcohol. Also, combining alcohol with other depressants can make the effects even more intense and dangerous.
These are drugs that help to speed things up like caffeine, cocaine, and methamphetamine. The idea behind users of these drugs is that it will help to increase alertness, which is true to a degree. However, this alertness effect can wear off quickly. Users of these types of drugs also often feel overconfident about their driving abilities, which can lead to riskier driving tactics. High doses can actually lead to hostility and aggressiveness.
Some types of stimulants, such as cocaine, can affect vision. In extreme cases there can be hallucinations. Not only this, but there may also be smells or sounds perceived by users that simply are not there. This can cause them to become distracted and lead to very poor and dangerous driving.
Marijuana & Other Hallucinogens:
Marijuana, or cannabis, can lead to problems with depth perception, shortened attention span and concentration. It can also slow the overall reaction time of a driver, which is certainly not good since there are often situations which call for an instant reaction. Another important effect is that these drugs can cause a decrease in muscle strength and hand steadiness. Combine all of these effects together and it is obvious why no one should be on the road after using any of these types of drugs. The same can be said for other types of hallucinogenic drugs like ecstasy, mescaline, and LSD. They all serve to distort perception and mood.