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How Alcohol Can Affect Your Driving Skills on the Road


We all know that people are told all of the time not to get behind the wheel when they have alcohol in their respective systems. Driving under the influence is considered one of the worst crimes someone can commit by the lay of the law. It severely distorts your driving skills. However, few know the science and explanation behind why it’s such a serious law. The law exists to prevent impaired drivers from causing accidents and potentially hurting people. No one argues this explanation, but some may question how the drivers end up impaired. What does alcohol do to your system that causes you to become a worse driver when you drink it?

Considering the popularity of this question, it’s worth taking a look at. Understanding the impact alcohol has on your system helps you be less likely to consider drinking and driving. You realize that not only are you harming your own safety on the road, but also the safety of others on the road. Simply put, alcohol impacts the system of whoever it’s in, in a major way. Let’s take a look at how alcohol can affect your driving skills on the road.

How your driving skills are affected by alcohol:

A huge part of driving includes determining your surroundings and judging how to approach them. For example, how far a car is from your car. How quickly do you need to hit the breaks? Can you make the yellow light before it turns red, or do you need to halt? These judgment calls make up our driving skills on a daily basis. However, when we are under the influence of alcohol, these driving skills diminish tremendously. Alcohol impacts the brain in a major way. The brain makes the split-second judgment decisions that make or break whether we put ourselves in danger. Additionally, the brain allows us to think ahead, think clearly, and make reasonable decisions. Alcohol impairs all of these abilities, diminishing our chances of making the right decisions.

Concentration and Comprehension

Two premier aspects of driving include concentration and comprehension. We must concentrate fully on the road ahead, as at any point any obstacle can move in front of us. Say a stray cat works its way into the open road. We must be prepared to come to a full halt. Say a vehicle misses a stop sign and swerves into the open road. Our concentration helps us be the better drivers and stop the car. Concentration also works with speed, angles, and more that make up our driving skills. When under the influence of alcohol, all of these abilities diminish, making our chances of suffering an accident much greater. Many accidents occur as a result of someone failing to concentrate.

Compare it to the existence of texting and driving. Everyone says not to text and drive because your focus does not fall on the road. When under the influence, it’s quite similar.

As for comprehension, without full comprehension of what’s going on, we can make plenty of mistakes. Perhaps a car appears further away then we previously believed. Perhaps we miss stop signs along the way because we cannot comprehend their existence among the other items on the streets. When under the influence of alcohol, the brain fails to respond as quickly to different things seen on the roads or on the sides. Lights can be missed, stop signs can be ignored important things we must comprehend can be misunderstood. Thus, we are left in difficult situations.

How Do I Prevent Myself From Impairing My Driving Skills?

If you want a sure-fire way of understanding your blood alcohol content and how safe you are to take the open road, one of the top options is an ignition interlock device. An ignition interlock device connects to your car, serving as a personalized breathalyzer test. The device requires you to blow into the machine before you are able to start your car. If your blood alcohol content is too high to be able to drive safely, the device will effectively prevent you from driving your car. If your blood alcohol content is at a fine level to take the open road, it will allow you to move forward with your driving.

In fact, sometimes the ignition interlock system will ask you to re-register your breath if it determines you are not driving safely. The device sometimes gets put into people’s cars by law enforcement as part of a settlement in driving under the influence cases, as it works tremendously to prevent those considering driving under the influence on the open road from doing so.

One important aspect to understand, however, is that the ignition interlock system will never turn off your car while you are in the act of driving. Instead, it will give every indication possible that you are not safe to be driving while you are behind the wheel. This prevents accidents and helps you help yourself in driving with the most driving skills possible.