The 6 Dangers Of Drinking And Driving

The 6 Dangers Of Drinking And Driving

Road accident statistics are becoming a national crisis that requires more efforts to improve road safety, and driving while under the influence of alcohol is a leading factor. It results in widespread concern and poses significant risks for road users and pedestrians. Read on to learn more about the six dangers of drinking and driving.

Slowed Reaction Time and Concentration

Alcohol in your system can impact your brain’s communication pathways, changing the way your brain works and relays information. Additionally, it makes it harder to control specific areas such as judgment, memory, and speech.

This can increase the likelihood of injuries and potentially harmful outcomes such as motor vehicle accidents. In severe circumstances, it can cause alcohol-induced blackouts. In most cases, the interruption in your brain’s functionality can lead to slowed reaction times and poor concentration while you are driving after a night of drinking.

Impaired Coordination

Most people assume that occasional drinking doesn’t have consequences. However, research suggests that the moment you take a sip of alcohol, it has an impact on your body right away. People who drink regularly and heavily are most likely to experience a decline in thinking-related abilities.

When your brain has been affected by alcohol, you might notice:

  • Slurred speech.
  • Difficulty standing or walking.
  • Uncontrollable back-and-forth movement.
  • Poor vision.
  • Shaking or trembling movements.

Poor Judgment

When you drink, it increases the likelihood of changes in your thinking capabilities. According to research, alcohol increases dopamine production and raises GABA, a neurotransmitter that blocks specific signals in your brain. This produces a calming effect, which lowers anxiety and stress.

While it might sound like a good experience, these chemical imbalances lead to increased impulsivity, making it more challenging to foresee the consequences of your actions. This effect can lead to several risky behaviours, such as drinking and driving. Moreover, it can make it difficult to assess how you are driving and result in poor judgment that can put you or other drivers at risk of severe injuries and fatalities.

Decreased Vision

Did you know that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to potential blindness? Alcohol is associated with several mental, physical, and social concerns, including short and long-term vision issues. In most cases, moderate drinking leads to short-term effects such as blurred or double vision might be short-term.

When you are intoxicated, alcohol impairs the central nervous system, resulting in alcohol-induced changes in the eyes and temporary vision disturbances. The risks of impaired vision might be:

  • Slowed reaction time.
  • Unstable double vision.
  • Failure to keep a safe following distance.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Lack of safe driving.

Increased Likelihood of Being in an Accident

Research suggests that the country’s annual road accident death toll continues to rise. The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) estimates road accidents at 14,000 yearly, with significant increases during holiday seasons. Drunk driving is one of the leading contributing factors to road accident fatalities.

The alcohol content limit in your blood should be lower than 0.05%. This is why even moderate drinking or what you consider a small drink should be avoided when you know you need to drive home after a social outing. Most importantly, since alcohol causes a chemical imbalance in your brain, you are more likely to cause an accident even when you think you are okay to get behind the wheel.

Legal Consequences

There are nationwide roadblocks and checkpoints to discourage driving after the consumption of alcohol and related substances. If you are stopped and your alcohol content is above the 0.05% limit, you will be arrested and charged with drinking under the influence. If you are held in custody, you will be liable to post bail, which might be denied depending on the circumstances.

If you have previous convictions of the same crime, you could pay a minimum fine of R2000 or face a two-year prison sentence. You might be charged with both and have a criminal record in some cases. Additionally, according to the demerit provisions of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (ARRTO) Act, your driver’s license might be suspended.

The dangers of drinking and driving always outweigh the temporary satisfaction of having fun when you go out. It will increase your chances of not getting home safely and endanger other people’s lives. Downloading the FREE-to-use iER App can connect you to several Roadside Assistance emergency providers with designated driver services to reduce the risk of drinking and driving.

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