Drinking and Driving

It could happen to anyone. Even to you. You go to a party, meet friends, laugh, and have a whale of a time. Then it is time to go back home. You stumble to your car, get behind the wheel. You tell yourself you are not drunk, just pleasantly high. After all, you have had just a few

How Alcohol Can Impair Your Driving Skills

Driving involves a combination of various basic motor skills which is used simultaneously by the driver. For safe driving, proper coordination and synchronisation of these skills is very necessary. At some point in time, every one of us has been advised not to drive under the influence of alcohol. But still, it seems that people do not understand it completely as to why they should not drive even when they do not “feel that drunk”.

Therefore, it is crucial for us to examine how alcohol can impair our driving skills and consequently cause unwanted accidents.

General effect of alcohol on body

Unlike any other consumable food substance, alcohol being water soluble does not get digested and within few minutes, it is carried to different parts of the body. When it reaches the brain, it can significantly impair your motor functions which are necessary for driving manoeuvres. More importantly, consumption of alcohol changes your mood, making you think you are absolutely fine when in actuality, you are heavily intoxicated.

Effect of Alcohol on Driving Skills

Safe driving requires proper functioning of the brain which controls our hands, legs and vision. Alcohol weakens their functions and causes difficulty in decision making. Influence of alcohol inhibits us to change our decision with changing situations.

Drinking can impair any or all of these crucial driving skills:

1. Impaired comprehension

Alcohol can make it difficult for you to interpret different signs and symbols on the road which is essential for your own safety and for others as well. Alcohol might confuse you very easily and leave you in a state where you might not be able to recognise or respond to emergency situations. For example, you might not be able to follow traffic signals, resulting in redundant risks.

2. Impaired Hearing and Vision

After consumption of alcohol, pupils dilate causing slowness in their reaction. This results in visibility problems at night due to the head light glare of the oncoming vehicles. The reduction in distance and depth perception also make it difficult to judge the speed of other cars on road. Alcohol also numbs your hearing senses making it difficult to detect the direction of the sound.

3. Impaired Coordination of motor skills

The motor functions like coordination of hand-eye-foot muscles weaken, resulting in the lack of control of the car speed and direction. You might have difficulty in maintaining a straight track on the road causing you to collide with other cars. Alcohol also damages you quick decision-making ability.

4. Impaired Judgment

Alcohol can severely impair your judgment while driving. You will be prone to wrong decisions at moments like: stopping at a specific point, taking sharp turns, and increasing or decreasing the speed of the vehicle.

5. Impaired Concentration

Alcohol directly affects your brain functions and does not let you concentrate. While drinking and driving you may have a flurry of thought which might distract you from the objects on road. Concentration is also affected due to a loss of hearing and vision.

Therefore, we can see that consumption of alcohol has major negative effects on our driving skills. By drinking and driving you can not only cause serious damage to yourself but also to others. So, as responsible citizens, we must always keep in mind the duties we have towards others and thus refrain from driving under the influence of alcohol.

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