PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL ON DRIVING
Ever wondered what a drunken Michael Schumacher would do on the road?
The most experienced of drivers can be wobbly on the track when their bodies are fuelled with alcohol. It is less about how practised or skilled one is at driving a motor vehicle, but the skewed nature of our sense organs make the most experienced of us behave like tweedledum&tweedledee on the city roads. The influence of alcohol can be felt after as little as one drink and gets from bad to worse with each sip. What makes the situation even more dangerous is the fact that the influence fades away only after the alcohol is completely broken down and metabolised by the liver – and this process is time consuming and to the drinker, may appear to be an exhausting experience. That is exactly why we advise to pace your drinks slowly, not binge on shots and indulge in moderation.
Consuming alcohol isn’t as simple as chugging and buzzing – our bodies go through some serious changes at the intake of our first drink. Here are some things that happen to all of us on a dose of alcohol.
- Alcohol numbs the senses –
The easiest explanation for how alcohol numbs the senses is the fact that many people wake up to neck pains after a drunken night at the club. Yes. We’re talking head-banging to rock. And No. It is not just that. Alcohol numbs the senses by impairing judgement. We think we are capable of performing an action; we wrongly estimate our motivation to do it and then end up causing damage to ourselves. Even when it comes to drunken driving, we sometimes over-speed, brake inappropriately or signal wrongly. The perils of drunken driving are not only limited to breaking the law, but may also cost someone their life.
- The evil spike in BAC –
BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is the main cause of wreckage. Alcohol is directly picked up by our blood and indicates the amount of alcohol that is running in our veins. At about 20 mg of alcohol/ 100 ml of blood leads to disorientation in visual functions. At 50 mg/100 ml, alcohol leads to difficulty in co-ordination, and slows down response time. Further up at 0.8 mg/ 100 ml, alcohol causes lack of concentration, and leads to inability to control speed. The most dangerous is at and above 0.10 mg/100 ml when the ability to brake is severely affected.
According to drunk driving laws in India, the BAC limit is set at 30 mg/ 100 ml of blood. The road safety bill (which is yet to be passed) allows a BAC reading of 20 mg/100 ml. A pint of 330 ml beer will spike the alcohol concentration to over 20 mg/100 ml, so always call a cab or crash at a friend’s when you’re out drinking!