As you might have heard before, alcohol plays a huge role in clouding judgment. Alcohol can impair your judgment to the point that you make bad decisions that you would not otherwise make, and would regret in the morning or when you sober up.
For example, when intoxicated, you may choose to drive home well beyond the legal drinking limit, or when you know you are feeling drunk and should not be getting behind the wheel. But the forces of wanting your own bed, not wanting to wait or pay for a ride, or the old adage of being “just around the corner” outweigh the smart and safe decision, so you get behind the wheel. This is a risky choice that puts you and others in danger, both legally and from physical harm caused by operating a motor vehicle when impaired.
- Poor Judgment & Decision Making
Your loss of judgment when intoxicated can also leave you more prone to distraction when driving. You might try to text or watch something on your phone rather than focus on the road. Even just a little bit of alcohol can influence your judgment and concentration, but there are so many things that need your undivided attention when driving that it isn’t worth the risk. You need to be able to stay in your lane, manage your speed, give the proper space and attention to other cars on the road, and obey traffic signals. Alcohol will significantly increase your chances of having an accident because of how much it can reduce your attention span.
Your judgment skills also play a big role in driving. You have to be able to judge distance needed to stop in time, or to make a turn without hitting anything. You have to be able to foresee and react to problems that may arise on the road, such as being cut off, encountering a sudden change in weather, or avoiding large pieces of debris in the road. Having a clear head helps your judgment by keeping you alert and aware of the conditions around you. Alcohol will impair this ability.
- Slowed Reaction Time & Lack of Coordination
Having alcohol in your system will cause your body to react more slowly to certain situations. Since your reaction time is slowed, it will increase the likelihood of an accident because you won’t be able to respond to something happening as quickly as you would if you were sober. For instance, if someone stops short in front of you or cuts you off, you may run into the back of them rather than being able to think fast, brake, and avoid an accident.
Likewise, you may not be able to react in time to an animal running into the road, or worse, a pedestrian. A brain under the influence of alcohol will take longer to process the situation and react. This is compounded by the fact that alcohol makes you more susceptible to distracted driving.
Not only will you have slower reflexes, but being under the influence of alcohol will also affect motor skills such as your hand, eye, and foot coordination. These coordination skills are incredibly crucial for being able to safely drive a car, and if they are impaired, you will be putting yourself and others in danger.
You can tell your coordination has been impaired if you can’t seem to stand up straight, sway when standing, or have any difficulty when walking. You may even have a tough time getting into the car or putting your keys into the ignition. If your impairment has reached this level, you definitely should not be driving a car. It is also imperative to point out the dangers of passengers drinking in the vehicle. Drunk passengers tend to distract the driver from concentrating on the road i.e. pushing, struggling, touching the driver.
- Decreased Vision
Being able to see clearly is massively important when driving, and excessive alcohol consumption can cause problems with your vision. Drinking may cause your vision to blur, or cause your eyes to move on their own. You may even partially lose control over your eye movement. This vision impairment can influence how you are able to judge the distance between your car and other vehicles or objects on the road.
You may even lose your peripheral vision, which plays a very important role in safe driving. In general, the more you’ve had to drink, the more impaired your vision may be. If you notice your vision is blurred, cloudy, or are having any eye-related issues during a night of drinking, do not get behind the wheel.