Drunk driving is an offense because of the effects of alcohol on the body. To drive safely, you need different parts of the body to control your vehicle. For instance, you need your hands to steer your car. You need your feet to accelerate and brake Your also need your eyes to see obstacles. Considering all these different parts of your body are controlled by your brain, you need your brain to be working perfectly when you are driving. Furthermore, driving involves constant changes in the environment which demand unmatched awareness, alertness and quick decision-making capabilities. The brain is behind all these functions, and the most important thing to note is; alcohol has an adverse effect on the brain. Here’s a more in-depth discussion on the impact of has on your driving skills.
Alcohol consumption impairs judgment
When you take alcohol, the first part of the body that gets affected is the brain, more so, the frontal lobe which is responsible for reasoning and judgment. Your judgment starts getting impaired when your blood alcohol level is at 0.05% and above. This simply means your ability to reason, think clearly, plan ahead as well as make sound decisions reduces as you continue to consume more. Considering you need to think clearly, reason and plan ahead to make sound judgments on the road.
Alcohol consumption reduces concentration
You need to concentrate to drive safely. When your blood alcohol level increases to 0.1-0.15%, it starts affecting your midbrain which is responsible for vision, muscle coordination, and speech. When you are unable to make sound judgments, and your vision and muscles aren’t working properly, it is impossible to concentrate on the many activities and functions required to drive safely. This explains why most drunk drivers focus on one action when driving although they need to concentrate on multiple things at once. In fact, most drunk driving accidents happen because drunk drivers have a short attention span. Once you stop concentrating on multiple things at once when driving, you increase your chances of getting into an accident.
Alcohol consumption affects coordination
You also need to coordinate different parts of your body i.e. the eyes, hands, and legs to drive safely. Unfortunately, alcohol impairs muscle coordination as seen above and affects a person’s fine and gross motor skills. You will have a hard time performing simple tasks like putting your key into the ignition. Poor eye, hand and foot coordination impairs your reaction time greatly yet you need a quick reaction time to avoid driving risks.
Alcohol also impairs vision
You need clear vision to drive safely. Alcohol consumption impairs a person’s ability to control eye movements and numerous studies have shown that it slows down eye muscle function. It also reduces peripheral vision which is someone’s ability to see/notice what is happening on the sides when looking straight. Peripheral vision is crucial when driving. You need to see/notice what is going on around you even when you are driving while looking straight ahead. You also compromise your ability to judge distance and depth when your vision is impaired.
Alcohol affects the brain which is the single most important organ for safe driving. You need a properly working brain to have sound judgment while driving. You also need the brain to be able to concentrate and have proper hand, eye, and leg coordination. Your brain is also responsible for proper vision. Alcohol affects all parts of the brain responsible for controlling all these crucial functions. When you are drunk, simple functions like seeing, moving, and reasoning become difficult yet you need these functions to drive safely.