Driving under the influence is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents. Even though its harmful repercussion is well-known, many people still drink and drive. Here are some reason as to why drunk driving is bad and you should never do it.
Drunk driving, or driving under the influence, is a serious problem all over the world. It is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents and it is a threat to everyone. As can be inferred from the name, driving under the influence is the act of operating a vehicle after consuming a certain amount of alcohol that is enough to impair one’s mental and motor capability. In some countries, this offence may actually not involve the act of driving itself, but it can include being in control of a car while drunk even though the person is not driving. Such laws against drunk driving obviously encompass not only car operators, but also motorcyclists and bicyclists, and sometimes pilots and helmsman, though these atypical cases are harder to regulate and examine. Drunk driving is usually deemed as a misdemeanour and the offender has to pay a fine or in some cases, they are jailed for a certain amount of time, depending on the severity of the misdemeanour. However, driving under the influence is considered a felony when the impaired driving inflicts death or injury upon others, in which case the offender shall be given substantial jail sentences.
Such strict regulations against drunk driving are effective enough, but only when people are aware of the damage caused by this serious offence can they be more mindfulness of the impact they could have on the road. People are already hard to be reasoned with, much less so when they are inebriated and insisting that they are not “that” drunk. More and more countries are equipping their officers with breathalysers, and it is these handy little machines that will decide your drunkenness, not yourself. The United States considers the blood alcohol content of 0.08% as legally impaired, while Australia considers 0.05% and this number comes down to 0.03% in India and South Korea. Now 0.03% intoxication level does not seem like that big of a deal, but a person with 0.03% blood alcohol content is seven times more likely to cause accidents than a person that has not consumed any alcoholic substances. Safe driving requires total concentration, the ability to make good judgments and to react quickly. However, the consumption of alcohol impairs such skills, and thus, you are much more likely to cause accidents that could indefinitely paralyse yourself, as well as other traffic participants.
A breathalyser can calculate the blood alcohol content
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Alcohol impairs your driving ability
Lack of coordination
Eyes, hand and foot coordination is probably one of the most important skills a driver must acquire. Your eyes receive signals while driving, to which your body will react accordingly to create a smooth operation. This coordination is severely affected after alcohol consumption, as visibly drunk people tend to have trouble walking straight, sway or fumble their steps. Without the coordination skill, you might be unable to avoid harmful obstacles as your drunkenness impedes your ability to coordinate your hands and feet correctly.
When drunk, people’s ability to remain calm and collected is affected, leaving them emotionally unstable and unhinged. This can lead them to respond aggressively to minor inconveniences, or propel them into road rage. Not to mention driving under the influence already inhibits numerous mental activities that are required of a driver to operate a vehicle safely, so when a drunk person goes into road rage, it is highly dangerous as they are unable to compose themselves as quickly as they would sober. Consequently, these drivers could get into accidents are even worse, cause vehicular manslaughter.
Drunk drivers get agitated easily and could cause accidents
Alcohol, despite the amount, can disturb your concentration. Many factors of driving require total focus and ensuring that you do not suddenly speed up or brake your car. When you are drunk, your attention span and the ability to focus on multiple tasks at hand is dramatically reduced, which greatly raises the chance of an accident.
While you are on the road, it is important that you respond quickly to any situation that may present itself. Alcohol slows down your response time, which increases the possibility of an accident. If a car in front of you abruptly braked or a pedestrian suddenly crossed the street in front of your car, you would process such information much slower than you normally would, so you could not react on time to prevent an accident from happening.
After drinking, you may be aware of the fact that your vision is blurred or you have difficulty directing your eye movements. When conducting a field sobriety test, police officers would put their fingers between your eyes and instruct you to follow their movement by using your eyes for this reason. Not only does drunkenness minimize your field of vision - it might be hard for you to see objects within your peripheral vision, but it also could lead you to misjudge the space between your car and others’.
Blurry vision makes it hard for drivers to notice obstacles while driving
When driving, your judgment skills are very crucial in your decision making. By using your judgment, you are able to assess a situation or foresee a possible outcome, and thus, you can make decisions that are of best interests to you. Excessive consumption of alcoholic substances clouds your judgment and decreases your awareness of the surrounding environment. Therefore, your consecutive action upon facing problems on the road could potentially be harmful and bring about consequential repercussion.
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What to do to prevent drunk driving?
Drunk driving is in fact very easy to prevent. When you are out drinking with friends, have a prior agreement that a person would not drink and remain sober so they could be the group’s “designated driver”. Additionally, there are many car-hauling services available, so if you are too drunk to drive home, call a taxi or use an app to order a car ride home. Most bars and drinking establishments are more than happy to assist customers in having a safe ride home, so you could ask for their assistance.
You should hail a cab after drinking so you do not have to drive
It is not that people are unaware of the danger of driving under the influence, it is that they are unwilling to change their drinking habits. Most, if not all drivers acknowledge the danger of drunk driving, and they are also conscious of the fact that it is prohibited under laws. It is just that they are apathetic towards this issue, and they think that it would never personally affect them. In many countries, especially those with heavy drinkers like India or South Korea where people generally have a stronger alcohol resistance, they assume that drinking would not greatly inhibit their driving. To deal with such a mindset, education on the harmfulness of not just drinking and driving but drinking, in general, should be indoctrinated to everyone at a young age. There should also be more regular sobriety tests and check-ups, especially outside bars and venues to ensure that people do not drive when they are not in their best conditions.
It is hard for people to get rid of their drinking habits
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