The Dangers of Drink Driving

We all know of the dangers of drink driving but that doesn’t stop some people. It is never worth the risk. Keep reading to go into more depth on the subject, as well as find out the effects of drugs on your driving.

The Effects

Any amount of alcohol affects your judgment and your ability to drive safely. You may not notice the effects but even a small amount of alcohol can:

  • reduce your co-ordination
  • slow down your reactions
  • affect your vision
  • affect how you judge speed and distance
  • make you drowsy

Alcohol can also make you more likely to take risks, which can create dangerous situations for you and other people.

How much can you drink while staying under the limit?

There is no way of knowing how much you can drink and stay under the limits.

How your body deals with alcohol depends of many factors, these factors mean that you may well be over the limit after one drink and your friend could have 2 identical drinks and remain under the limit

Amount and type – how much alcohol has been taken how quickly

Age – younger people have lower alcohol tolerance coupled with a lack of driving experience

Weight/size – the smaller you are, the lower your blood volume is likely to be and alcohol may affect you more

Gender – women are typically smaller and have proportionately more body fat and less body water than men so drinking the same amount of alcohol is likely to result in a higher blood alcohol concentration

Water intake – dehydration leads to a higher concentration of alcohol in the blood

Food intake – alcohol is absorbed more slowly if there is food in the body

The best advice we can give you is to never take the risk of drinking at all if you know you will be needing to drive soon after.

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Drink Driving Penalties

Causing death or grievous bodily injury by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs

You could get:

  • 14 years’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a ban from driving for at least two years
  • an extended driving test before your licence is returned

Driving or attempting to drive when above the legal limit or unfit through drink or drugs

You could get:

  • six months’ imprisonment
  • a fine of up to £5,000
  • a ban from driving for at least 12 months or three years if convicted twice in 10 years
  • a driving test before your licence is returned

Effects of Drugs on Driving*

Cannabis

Cannabis can affect attention span and reaction times, as well as eye-tracking abilities, making drivers under the influence almost twice as likely to cause a road accident.

Effects on Driving

  • Low attention span
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow reaction times
  • Poor speed control
  • Inability to accurately read road signs
  • Drowsiness
  • Distraction
  • Distorted perceptions of time and space

Opiates

Opiates can cause drowsiness, mental confusion, and visual impairment even at lower, moderate doses. A driver may have difficulty keeping the vehicle in the correct lane and may make errors in judgment

Effects on Driving

  • Less likely to read signs
  • More error-prone
  • Reduced reaction times

Cocaine

Cocaine can make the user feel more alert, however accident levels prove they aren’t. Speeding and aggressive driving are both typical of drivers under the influence of cocaine.

Effects on Driving

  • Impair judgement
  • Interfere with ability to concentrate
  • Poor vehicle control
  • Aggressive driving
  • Speeding

Tranquilisers

Use of tranquilisers produces drowsiness, lack of coordination, altered perceptions, memory impairment, poor control of speech and slower reaction time.

Effects on Driving

  • Poor tracking
  • Difficulty in maintaining lane position
  • Neglecting roadside instructions

Amphetamines

The use of amphetamines can interfere with concentration, impair vision, and increase the driver’s tendencies to take risks.

Effects on Driving

  • Driving at a rate of high speed
  • Swerving on the road
  • Maintaining an unsafe distance from other vehicles
  • Failure to react to changing traffic circumstances
  • Failing to stop appropriately at lights and/ or stop signs

Advice

If you know you will be drinking alcohol, plan how you will get home before hand. Nominate a designated driver if out in a group, or book a taxi. There are many options, so there is no excuse to drink and drive.

The morning after

It is important to remember that you may be over the legal limit many hours after your last drink, even if you have slept all night.

Sleep, breakfast, coffee or a cold shower will not sober you up – only time will reduce the alcohol in your body.

Use the button below to be taken to our online audit test to see if alcohol might be putting your health at risk.

*Information supplied by Randox

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