Each and every day in America, more and more people attempt to go for a drive after having drunk large amounts of alcohol as they do not seem to think that there is any harm in doing so. Just because you manage to drive to your destination unscathed or without getting any attention from the police, does not mean that the decision to drive after consuming alcohol was a good one. This is because by doing this, not only are you putting yourself in danger, but also other road users too, whether they be drivers or pedestrians.
Whilst the legal alcohol limit to be able to drive anywhere in the United States of America is 0.08 percent, having low blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels also impairs on your ability to drive safely. The best way of staying safe on the road then is by not consuming any amount of alcohol if you intend to drive a vehicle. This is true even if you are one of those people who can handle their alcohol well, because driving with even the smallest amount of alcohol in your system, greatly increases your chances of having some sort of accident.
Alcohol is responsible for having a damaging effect on an individual’s ability to coordinate their actions, to react quickly to events, to concentrate on the task at hand, and to see things clearly. The impact that it has on this particular set of skills not only puts yourself at danger on the roads, but also other people. If you are a New Jersey Drunk Driving Accident Victim and you have experienced severe injury as a result, then you may want to think about seeking the assistance of a specialist law firm that has experience in handling these types of claims – one such as Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C.
To try and discourage even one person from driving whilst under the influence of alcohol, we will take a good look at the many reasons as to why doing it is so very dangerous.
Makes your decision making and judgement worse
As anyone who has ever drank an alcoholic drink before will attest to, being under the influence does cloud your judgement – to what degree depends upon how much alcohol has been consumed. Alcohol can be that damaging to judgement that it results in you masking decisions that you would not typically make and are likely to regret once sober.
For instance, when drunk, you might make the decision to drive your car even though you are clearly above the legal limit for driving. Despite the smart choice being to either walk or get someone else to drive you who is not under the influence, you still decide to drive to where you need to get to. Doing so comes at a great risk however, and not only puts you in legal hot water, but also makes you more likely to have an accident and cause harm to yourself, someone else, or both of you.
Equally, being drunk can also impact upon your attention, meaning that you become more easily distracted by things around you whilst driving. For example, you may think that you are able to scroll through your cell phone on social media or send a text message to a friend. Of course you are not and by doing this you are putting yourself and others at great risk.
It is true that even the smallest drink of alcohol can have an impact on your concentration and judgement. This does not go well with driving – an activity that requires you to concentrate on many different things and to make judgement calls relating to changing lanes or travelling at the appropriate speed for the road conditions. Being under the influence of alcohol, therefore, will seriously increase the likelihood that you will have an accident whilst driving.
Makes you have less coordination and delayed reaction times
By consuming any amount of alcohol, it can have the effect of slowing down how fast you are able to react to any situations that arise. With a delayed reaction time, it means that you are more likely to have an accident whilst driving, due to not being able to react quickly if, for instance, another driver unexpectedly drifts into your lane or pulls out in front of you.
There is also the very real danger of not being able to react in time if, say, a pedestrian steps out into the road, if a cyclist jumps a red light, or if an animal jumps out in front of your car. This is because it takes much longer to first process a situation like this and then to react to it. It does not help the situation that drivers who are under the influence of alcohol are also much more likely to be distracted whilst at the wheel.
In addition to having much slower reaction times, by being drunk, your hand eye coordination and foot coordination are also impacted on. These particular skills are vitally important for the purpose of driving a vehicle in a way that is safe and minimizes the chance of an accident happening.
An obvious clue that alcohol impairs your coordination is that you sway around when drunk, have difficulty standing up straight, and can even struggle to walk in the most severe cases. So it is likely that when you attempt to drive a car in this type of state, that you struggle with actually getting into the vehicle in the first place and have even greater difficulty attempting to get the key into the ignition. Where these things are true, you should not be driving a vehicle, no matter how short the journey is.
Makes you have Impaired vision
It is pretty obvious that being able to see clearly is an important thing that is required in order to safely drive a vehicle. However, consuming large amounts of alcohol can and does seriously impact on how well you can see. Some of the impairments to your vision that it causes include blurred vision or an inability to control exactly where your eyes move to. As a result of this, you will not be able to judge distances as well as if you were sober, thus meaning that you are likely to drive closer to the vehicle in front of you or hit another vehicle or even a pedestrian when attempting to park up.
It is also likely to be the case that your peripheral vision is impaired upon or is completely diminished as a result of drinking alcohol. This form of vision actually plays a very important role for the purpose of driving in a safe manner. If you are aware that your vision is impaired at all, then you should not even attempt to drive a vehicle, as it could have potentially devastating effects.
Makes you more likely to have an accident
Despite the fact that the number of deaths on the country’s roads has steadily decreased over recent years, there still remains some 10,000 deaths that are related to driving under the influence of alcohol each and every year. According to the latest figures from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that approximately 1 in every 3 crashes on our roads that result in death are in some way related to the use of alcohol.
Despite the fact that the government and most states run educational programs in order to warn people of the dangers of getting behind the wheel whilst drunk, there are still many people who still persist in doing it. This is true even though the penalties for being caught doing so have become increasingly harsher over the years. It is true that on average, cases of drunk driving are down, the fact that it is still happening is still a worrying thought. What is especially worrisome is that you can be completely sober yourself and be obeying all of the rules of the road and can still be impacted upon by someone else who thought it was a good idea to get behind the wheel whilst drunk.
In the United States of America, deaths from car accidents are the leading cause of fatalities amongst those individuals under 24 years of age, regardless of whether they are a driver or a passenger. In around half of these deaths, alcohol plays a contributory factor.
This therefore shows exactly how someone who is intoxicated whilst at the wheel of a vehicle has a greater chance of being involved in a car accident than someone who is driving completely sober – but that does not stop a sober driver from being crashed into by a drunk driver. The data clearly indicates that the more alcohol that you consume, the greater your chance of having a collision in your vehicle.
For instance, a driver that has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of greater than 0.10 percent, is as much as 7 times greater risk of being involved in a deadly car accident than a completely sober driver. Drivers that have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 percent or greater actually have a 25 times higher risk of being involved in a fatal car accident. This does not mean that consuming alcohol and being under the legal limit makes you, as a driver, impervious to harm – you are still at an increased risk of being involved in a collision than compared to driving completely sober.
A person who has only consumed a couple of bottles of beer within the space of an hour may have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of around 0.08 percent, which is below the legal limit to drive. Despite being totally within the law, if you have consumed this much alcohol, you are 1.4 times more likely to be in a car accident. The reason for this is because you can still be impaired by the alcohol, even though you have only consumed a small amount of it. In fact, from as little as 0.02 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), you can start to be impaired by the effects of alcohol.
Makes you more likely to be stopped by the police
An increased risk of injury or even death is not the only downfall of drunk driving – there is also the very real risk of being stopped by the police and facing the legal ramifications that come with this.
If a police officer pulls you over with the suspicion that you are drunk driving, then it is likely that they will ask you to complete a sobriety test. This involves performing a number of tasks that examine how good your judgement and coordination skills are. If you unfortunately fail one of these tests, then the next step is to do a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test, via the use of a breathalyzer. Upon failing this, you will end up spending the night in jail so that you can sober up and also you will be charged either with a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or a Driving Under The Influence (DUI).
In addition to all of this, if charged, you should also expect to be fined for your actions. The cost of this can vary but will likely include the fee for having to have your vehicle towed away and stirred in a secure compound whilst you are held in jail, as well as any legal fees incurred. It may also be expected of you to pay for the cost of any training that you are now required to complete as a result of yourcharge. Not only that, but your insurance premium will shoot right up, potentially costing you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars more each and every year.
You may also be required to declare any driving charges that you have to your current or future employees, which never looks good. It may also mean that you may struggle to rent a car from a rental company in the future.