How does alcohol affect driving ability?

| Oct 28, 2020 | Firm News

The holiday season is right around the corner, which means you will be attending gatherings with friends and family. It is common to serve alcohol at holiday gatherings, and guests must take the proper precautions to avoid drunk driving. Unfortunately, not everyone is responsible when it comes to drinking and driving, and it is often innocent victims that experience the greatest consequences.

Alcohol has a definite impact on a person’s driving ability, and the more someone drinks, the more their ability diminishes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains the effects of alcohol on driving by the number of drinks consumed.

Two drinks

Two drinks is what most people describe as feeling “buzzed”. Along with feelings of warmth and relaxation, you may also experience slightly impaired judgment. Your ability to multitask, meaning perform two actions simultaneously, will also be affected.

Three drinks

By three drinks, your sense of alertness is significantly lowered. This impacts your ability to recognize a road hazard and take the proper actions to avoid it. Tracking of moving objects, including vehicles, is diminished due to impairment of small muscle control. You may also have problems steering the vehicle effectively, which leads to weaving and lane jumping.

Four drinks

Impairment impacts many other bodily function once you have consumed four alcoholic beverages. Reasoning, short-term memory, and concentration are all impacted. You may find your mind wandering or be unable to focus your attention on the road. You may also notice your vision and hearing are diminished. For most people, four drinks increases their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to the legal limit of .08%.

Five drinks

Lane control, steering, braking, and other operational tasks are all highly diminished at this point. Consuming five alcoholic beverages affects coordination, as well as slowing down your reaction time. Cognition is also significantly slowed. When combined, these effects greatly increases a person’s risk of causing an accident.