As the name suggests, drunk driving can be simply defined as driving under the influence of alcohol. Many people have fallen victim to this behaviour. This usually happens when people decide to drink alcohol and fail to assign a designated driver to take them home and decides to drive home instead. Unfortunately, they may never get home in the first place. If they don’t get injured in an accident themselves, they may end up causing injuries to others on the road. According to the law, driving when the alcohol level in your blood is above 0.08 dL/g is considered drunk driving. A quick test is used to prove this.
Drunk driving is the primary cause of many road accidents. Many people have been injured, maimed and disabled or killed because of the irresponsibility of drunk drivers on the road. Some of the reasons why it is dangerous to drive while drunk is because:
- Alcohol reduces a driver’s focus
If you have ever seen drunk drivers on the road, you will observe that most of the time, their eyes are hardly on the road. They shift in and out of focus. That is why a drunk driver will pass at a red light without noticing. Other times, the driver may even cross over to the wrong lane and continue driving. This is very dangerous.
- Alcohol blurs a driver’s vision
Clear eyesight is necessary while driving. When driving under the influence, a driver will have difficulty having clear eyesight not because he has eye problems but because of the effects of alcohol in his system. If a driver has blurry vision, this could result in an accident.
- Alcohol reduces a driver’s coordination
Alcohol depresses the brain. This interferes with coordination of important senses and parts of the body needed in driving. Drunk drivers have a difficult time coordinating their hands, feet and eyes.
- Alcohol slows down a driver’s reaction times
Say you are driving on the highway and a deer jumps abruptly on the road. Your immediate response would be to swerve to the opposite lane especially if there is no other car. A drunk driver will probably end up hitting the deer or reacting too late and veering off the road. Alcohol affects a driver’s judgment towards certain events. For example, if a car in front was to brake suddenly, a drunk driver would react very slowly and end up crashing into it.
Drunk driving: What are the signs?
You can pick out a drunk driver on the road if you notice any of these signs:
- The driver is exhibiting unpredictable braking actions. Drunk drivers tend to brake abruptly and more frequently, at times for no apparent reason
- The driver is making unusually wide turns for instance at corners, junctions and intersections
- The driver is swerving too much on the road.
- The driver is driving in the wrong lane.
- The driver is stopping for no particular reason and sometimes on a busy road such as a highway
- The driver is driving too slowly
- The driver does not observe traffic lights or slowly responds to the signs
- The driver is making sudden turns.
Drunk driving in the United States
Drunk driving is a serious problem in the United States. The higher the number of people engaging in binge drinking, the higher the chances of drunk driving. Drunk driving has been the cause of many car crashes which have left people dead, maimed or injured. The government and society have incurred hefty expenses because of car accidents caused by drunk driving. The number of fatalities from drunk driving is constantly increasing, portraying a sad state of the country and the need for drastic measures.
Drunk driving and its consequences
- First and foremost, drunk driving has serious implications on the safety of the driver and other road users. A driver who causes a death because of driving while drunk can be charged with vehicular manslaughter which attracts a sentence for a long period of time in prison.
- Drunk drivers can suffer mental and psychological torture if they cause an accident with fatalities
- Drunk drivers can have their driving licenses suspended for at least 30 days. For a person who regularly uses their car, this can be a considerable inconvenience.
- Any arrested drunk driver must spend at least a day in jail. In some states, it could be even a week.
- Drunk drivers must pay a monetary penalty. The fee varies in some states.
Minimizing drunk driving
Given the consequences of drunk driving, not only to the driver but also to other people, it is important for anyone to avoid driving while under the influence of alcohol. There are ways in which a person can accomplish this.
a. Having a designated driver
Whether you are in the company of friends or by yourself, it is important that you always have a designated driver. A designated driver will keep you from danger. Nowadays, you can actually hire a designated driver.
b. Asking for a ride
There is no shame in asking for help. If you don’t have the money to hire a designated driver, you can always ask for a ride or ask someone to get you a cab.
c. Upgrading your car
Sometimes, you may find yourself tempted to drive yourself home when drunk in case you failed to get a designated driver or did not get a cab. To avoid this temptation, install an ignition interlock device which is a breathalyser attached to the ignition system of the vehicle. The device will prevent the car from starting unless the driver blows into the tube. If alcohol is detected, the car will simply not start. Upgrading your car with this device can prove very useful.
Take charge of your driving. Don’t allow yourself or your friends and family to drive while drunk. The consequences of drunk driving may be too hefty to pay