The objective of this article is to examine the specific effects of drugs on driving capabilities in an effort to provide information as a deterrent to drinking, drugging, and driving.
By: Susan Adams, M. Ed.
The Relationship of Drugs and Traffic Safety
Summary: It is commonly accepted that alcohol, drugs, and driving don’t mix. However, that thought often gets lost when people use and drive. Alcohol and drugs seriously impair performance behind the wheel. This article provides information on the severity of the problem and and details as to why that is.
Traffic accidents caused by drugs and alcohol are the number one problem on the highways today.One in every 50 automobiles on the road is operated by an intoxicated driver.
Because drinking and drugging adversely affect perception and judgment, driving a vehicle is one of the most dangerous things a person can do while under the influence.
The increase in traffic accidents caused by drinking drivers has contributed to increased insurance rates for everybody. Many young drivers experience increased accidents due to lack of experience. If you couple this idea with the number of teens who drink/drug, and drive, it is understandable that insurance rates for young drivers is so high. This segment of the population experiences a high number of accidents, some of them fatal.
Many people falsely believe that smoking marijuana will counteract the effects of drinking alcohol. In actuality, smoking marijuana only makes a person feel that he or she can and will drive better. Therefore, the person’s driving ability is more than doubly impaired as result of drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. The combination of alcohol and marijuana affects the driver’s ability to process information. This skill is vitally important in driving.
In addition to a false sense of driving ability, marijuana use impairs coordination skills needed to control a car. The attention span of the driver is shortened and attention wanders. There is difficulty in recognizing traffic signals. Reaction time is also decreased. the driver is unable to react quickly enough in traffic situations. This produces a slow-motion effect. Memory is also impaired. The driver forgets very quickly. He or she may not be able to remember routes or addresses that have been known for years.
About one half of all fatal crash victims who are found to have rugs in their system also have enough alcohol to impair their driving ability. In a l977 Galleys Poll, teenagers were asked why they thought so many road accidents involved people under the age of 22. The majority said they thought drinking and drugs were the major cause.
You may decide that this article is required reading for any teen wo lives at your house before car keys are given over. It is, hopefully, useful for the adults at your house as well.
I believe that the single greatest cause of accidents both serious and minor involving drugs and/or alcohol, is the over-confidence which accompanies use befoe getting behind the wheel. People don’t generally set out to injure themselves or anyone else. They just underestimate their abilities after using a substance—-DON’T DO IT!