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The effects of alcohol on driving skills

When it comes to alcohol and driving, most people realize the need to avoid drinking and driving. Even if you have never been cited for a DUI or DWI, you likely know someone whose life has been affected by a drunk driver. Unfortunately, this knowledge is often forgotten in the moment of deciding whether or not to drive after drinking, especially if it was only a small amount of alcohol. The holidays are a time of celebration, but whether you are toasting to the new year or sharing a seasonal eggnog with an old friend, there are some things about alcohol's effects on drivers that you need to keep in mind during this time of year.

Alcohol increases reaction time

When impact is impending, vehicle operators usually only have seconds to make decisions about what to do. Researchers at the University of Texas San Antonio found that alcohol reduces the ability to think quickly by 15 to 25 percent. This extra time can mean the difference between collision and avoidance.

Alcohol affects rational thinking

You may be planning to call a cab if you feel too intoxicated after a party, but the truth is that you are likely going to be unable to make a rational decision when the time comes. Alcohol affects a person's ability to make sound judgement calls, even when your blood alcohol concentration is only .02 percent. This crucial skill is often the first to go, making it vital to arrange rides before ever leaving for a party so you will not be left making that decision when your judgement has been impaired. These are some easy options:

  • Designate someone in your group who will remain sober to be the driver.
  • Schedule a cab pick-up.
  • Take public transportation.

Not only can arranging a ride beforehand save your and your passengers' lives but also the lives of other drivers on the road.

Alcohol affects physical senses

The ability to process sights and sounds is altered when drivers become intoxicated. Sounds can become muffled, making it difficult to tell which directions noises are coming from. Pupils can become dilated, reducing the ability to see past the glare of on-coming headlights. Tunnel vision is also common, creating a lack of visual periphery that is dangerous for drivers. These physical changes drastically reduce a motorist's ability to operate in a safe manner and avoid accidents.

This holiday season, avoid the negative effects of alcohol on your driving abilities by following these tips, and you will be doing your part to make the roads a safer place for everyone. If you have been convicted of a DUI or DWI, contact an experienced attorney to get your life back on track and help you avoid additional incidents in the future.

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