Physical Effects of Drunk vs. Drugged Driving

person sitting in the driver's seat of a car holding pills in their right hand

It is a well-known fact that driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have dangerous consequences. However, what is not as commonly discussed are the specific physical effects that these substances have on a person's ability to drive. While these can have such severity as blackouts and seizures, even "minor" effects like drowsiness can cause significant damage. Here's what you need to know.

How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?

When it comes to alcohol, most people know that it can impair your ability to drive. However, many people don't know exactly how it does this.

Alcohol affects the body in a few different ways. First, it impairs judgment and concentration, which makes it difficult to make good decisions while driving. Second, alcohol slows down reaction time, making it harder to react quickly to sudden changes on the road. Finally, alcohol causes drowsiness and fatigue, which can make you feel tired and sluggish behind the wheel. All of these effects can lead to serious - and sometimes even fatal - crashes.

It's also important to note that alcohol can severely impact one's mood, which may make some drivers more susceptible to road rage behaviors. Speeding, erratic lane changes, and other forms of aggressive driving may become more prominent as one's blood alcohol content (BAC) increases.

At What BAC Do These Effects Begin?

The effects of alcohol on driving ability can begin at a BAC level as low as .02%, which for some may just result from having something as simple as a glass of wine at dinner. At this BAC, drivers can experience minor impairments to their judgment and reaction time.

As the amount of alcohol in the body increases, so does the risk of serious accidents. It is important to remember that even a small amount of alcohol can affect a person's ability to drive safely.

How Does Drug Use Affect the Body?

Drug use also has a serious impact on driving ability. Different drugs can cause different effects, but all of them can impair judgment and coordination, making it difficult to focus on the task of driving. Additionally, some drugs can cause drowsiness or hallucinations, which can significantly distract a driver from the road.

It is important to understand that the effects of drug use can last for hours or even days after the initial dose, so it is important to be aware of how long it takes for a particular substance to wear off before deciding to drive.

Drug Classifications and Their Effects

In general, there are three categories of drugs that can have the most dramatic effects on driving ability:

  • Stimulants – These drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines, can cause feelings of alertness but also lead to erratic behavior and decreased reaction time.
  • Depressants – These drugs, like marijuana and benzodiazepines, can cause drowsiness and impair coordination, much like alcohol (which is often considered a depressant).
  • Hallucinogens – These drugs, like LSD and ecstasy, can cause hallucinations or distort a driver's sense of reality.

It is important to note that the effects of any drug can be unpredictable, so it is always best to avoid driving if you have taken any kind of drug.

Hit By An Impaired Driver? Call Our Firm

If you or a loved one have been injured by an impaired driver, the DREAM TEAM at Jamie Casino Injury Attorneys is here to help. We understand how devastating these accidents can be and the emotional trauma that comes with them. Our experienced attorneys serving Georgia and South Carolina will fight to get you the compensation you deserve after such a traumatic event. Contact us today by calling (912) 809-5335 or fill out this short form for a free consultation.

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