How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Your Ability To Drive?

The different effects that drinking can have on your driving abilities.

Nearly everyone at some point or another has been informed about the numerous dangers of drinking and driving. Whether it was from your health teacher in middle school, your parents when you received your driver’s license, or from one of the many different advertisements online or on TV, every message is usually the same- drinking and driving is bad.

However, while many people were taught the consequences and dangers that can come from drinking and driving, very few understand just why alcohol can affect our ability to drive. Without this knowledge, many people who spend the night out at the bar drinking with friends and don’t really feel “that drunk” may attempt to drive because they aren’t aware of how their body has been effected.

Because alcohol can influence your ability to drive, even when it is ingested in small quantities, it’s important to understand just what parts of your mind and body are being effected so that you can determine whether or not you are safe to drive home.

How Does Drinking Affect The Body?

Unlike when you consume food, alcohol does not get digested within your body. Instead, it is water-soluble and is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it is carried to all of the body’s important organs-the liver, heart and brain. As a result, alcohol can impair your brain and motor functions within minutes.

Therefore, when a driver consumes alcohol-even as little as two drinks-they impair a large number of skills that are necessary for carrying out basic driving maneuvers such as depth perception, reaction time and concentration. Even worse, alcohol is a mood changer which can affect your judgment, making you think that you are fine to drive when you may actually be overly intoxicated.

What Are Some Common Signs People Exhibit When Driving Drunk?

You driving capabilities can vary greatly depending on how much you’ve had to drink, how much you weigh, and the amount of time in which you consumed your drinks. For instance, a 200-pound man who drinks three drinks in two hours will have a much lower blood alcohol content (BAC) than a 110-pound woman who had the same amount of drinks in that same time.

However, research conducted by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has come up with several common signs that drunk drivers often exhibit when pulled over for drunk driving:

  • Changing speed or lanes frequently for no reason
  • Ignoring or overshooting stop signs
  • Being unaware of the speed in which they are traveling
  • Weaving or swerving on the road
  • Following cars too closely
  • Turing in a wide radius while straddling the center of the lane marker
  • Going 10 mph slower than the speed limit

What Should You Do If You Are Pulled Over For Drunk Driving?

Being charged for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) can result in serious fines and penalties, including possible jail time, license suspension, increased insurance costs and mandatory probation programs. Because of this, you should always contact an experienced DWI lawyer if you are arrested for drinking and driving. By seeking out proper help and assistance, you can insure that your consequences will be minimal and that you can happily put the mistake behind you.