How does alcohol affect driving?

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:


Since the first motorized vehicle was invented, there have been millions of accidents to this day. Driving a vehicle can be done quite automatically – with movements that are made without apparent awareness. However, the handling of a car, motorcycle, bicycle, or any means of transport, implies a very important coordination effort – especially when unforeseen situations arise.

Alcohol impairs the ability to drive any vehicle, as it limits visual perception, reaction time, and motor coordination. Thus, it alters the ability to judge the speed, distance and relative situation of the vehicle. These consequences appear even before the driver has the feeling of being under its effects. This – along with the false sense of control that alcohol can induce – contributes to exposing the person (and often exposing others) to highly dangerous situations.

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On the other hand, and even if one does not drive, a high consumption of alcohol – to the extent that it distorts the perception of reality – can cause a person to:

    Don’t try to prevent a friend from driving after you’ve had a drink.

    Get into a vehicle driven by someone who is drunk.

The alteration of the ability to drive as a consequence of the consumption of alcoholic beverages is directly related to the concentration of alcohol in the blood or Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Driving a vehicle with a BAC greater than 0.5 g / l triples the risk of suffering or causing an accident. In fact, the leading cause of death among young people in developed countries –in most cases associated with alcohol consumption– is traffic accidents.

High BAC level is one of the main causes of so-called DUI accidents. Each country has different rules but broadly speaking, these rules are relatively the same, leading to the measurement of BAC levels. In the United States, the penalty for wrongful DUI is quite severe and it is due to the state’s concern for all the risks and harms that may be caused by improper alcohol consumption. 

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To the risks of suffering an accident must be added administrative and criminal problems for breach of the law. Drivers of cars and motorcycles are prohibited from driving with a BAC greater than 0.5 g / l (limit in blood) or its equivalent 0.25 mg / l (limt in expired air). The allowed amount decreases to 0.3 g / l (limit in blood) or its equivalent 0.15 mg / l (limit in expired air) if it is a new driver – who has had the driver for less than two years. driving license.

But you have to know that even small amounts of alcohol impair driving abilities and put the driver, passengers and other people you may encounter on the way at risk. The only safe rate is a 0.0% breathalyzer.

If a group of friends drink alcohol and go out in the car, they can take turns the days of abstinence between the different people who have a driving license.