Drunk Driving Essay on Driving while Intoxicated
Medically Reviewed By Nicole Arzt | Last Edited : February 05, 2021 | 4 Sources
Blood Alcohol Levels
Facts About Drinking And Driving
Drinking and Driving Effects
Your blood alcohol levels are what determine your fitness to drive, NOT how you feel
Alcohol and driving is a deadly mix.
Every drunk driving essay you read tells you the same: Alcohol and driving is a deadly mix. According to the National Institute of Health...
Alcohol is involved in 40% of traffic deaths. Among persons aged 16 to 20, the percentage is 36. Every day, approximately 29 people in the US die in a motor accident involving an alcohol-impaired driver. That calculates to one death per every 50 minutes.
There is more, an analysis by NIH scientists indicate that over 70% of people in crashes caused by alcohol driving met the criteria of being alcohol dependent, but most have never been arrested or received treatment for alcoholism.
Facts About Drinking and Driving
What is BAC?
BAC stands for "blood alcohol concentration". Practically BAC represents the amount of alcohol in a person’s body.
BAC is measured by the weight of the alcohol in a certain volume of blood, thus "blood alcohol concentration".
Alcohol is quickly absorbed and can be measured within 30 to 70 minutes after a person has had a drink.
What Affects Your BAC?
- The number of drinks The more you drink, the higher the BAC.
- How fast you drink When alcohol is consumed quickly, you will reach a higher BAC than when it is consumed over a longer period of time.
- Your gender Women generally have less water and more body fat per pound of body weight than men. More alcohol remains in the blood of women.
- Your weight The more you weigh, the more water is present in your body. This water dilutes the alcohol and lowers the BAC.
- Food in your stomach Absorption will be slowed if you’ve had something to eat.
Your tolerance can also affect your BAC. For example, someone who drinks more frequently typically has a higher tolerance than someone who drinks less often. That’s why they often require more alcohol to achieve the desired level of intoxication. But make no mistake- just because someone says they feel fine doesn’t mean they are fine!
How Can I Reduce My Blood Alcohol Levels?
The only reliable method of reducing your BAC is to wait
out the time for the alcohol to be metabolized.
Cold showers, black coffee, fresh air, exercise, vomiting and other home remedies may help you feel more alert but will not reduce your BAC.
Drinking and Driving Effects
How Alcohol Effects Driving Skills
- Reaction time 2 units of alcohol have the effect of increasing reaction time by an average of 0.2 seconds, see details.
Meaning, during alcohol driving, you may react more slowly than usual when something unexpected happens.
- Vision Alcohol has short-term negative effects on vision.
As BAC level increases, depth perception and night vision are affected.
It becomes impossible to accurately judge how far away objects are when depth perception deteriorates. Furthermore, your vision becomes blurred or you may see double since eye muscles lose their precision causing them to be unable to focus on the same object.
This is why drunk drivers tend to focus on the road straight ahead, avoid what is happening in their side vision and neglect center line, road signs, etc.
Alcohol affects night vision as well by keeping the pupils from adapting from darkness to light. The oncoming headlights of a car will cause a drunk driver to be dazzled much more severely than a sober driver.
- Poor judgment As I just mentioned, due to the depth perception damage, you could have trouble judging your distance and speed relative to the other vehicles on the road.
- Comprehension The depressant effect of alcohol slows down the ability to make rational decisions.
- Coordination During alcohol driving, the mechanics of driving can be affected by reduced eye/hand/foot coordination.
- False sense of confidence This is by far the most dangerous effect. Drinking alcohol may help you feel more confident, and to be sure of yourself that you are capable of driving.
Despite all the above effects on your body, you may take risks you would not normally take.
This is the part where you should be responsible enough to acknowledge your own situation and find a solution in the form of:
- Designated drivers
- Contacting a ride-share program like Uber or Lyft
- Public transportation
- Prior arrangements to stay overnight
- Calling someone to pick you up.
How To Spot a Drunk Driver
When you are driving, especially at night time, it's important to be aware of the other drivers next to you. Stay away if you see another vehicle in which the driver seems to be having problems with drinking and driving. Some signs of a drunk driver
- Unable to stay within the lane
- Driving too fast
- Driving too slow
- Taking wide turns
- Slowing down and speeding up erratically
- Driving too close behind another vehicle
- Pulling over recklessly
- Driving without using headlights
Keep in mind that drunk driving isn’t always obvious. In general, it’s a good idea to be cautious while driving on the weekends (particularly after 10:00 pm) and during the holidays. Be extra careful when driving around popular tourist areas. Many people enjoy drinking while on vacation, and they aren’t always paying attention to how it may impact their driving.
The Good News?
Today, everyone knows the dangers of drinking and driving. The laws are stringent, and a DUI can drastically impact your entire life. Additionally, if you hurt someone while driving, you can face severe penalities. All of these efforts have helped reduce statistics on drinking and driving.
According to the National Institutes of Health
- Since the early 1980s, alcohol-related traffic deaths per population have been cut in half with the greatest proportional decline among persons 16-20 years old.
- Reductions in driving after drinking saved more than 150,000 lives between 1982 and 2001 — more than the combined total saved by increases in seat belt use, airbags, and motorcycle and bicycle helmets
- The number of alcohol-related traffic deaths among 16 to 20 year-olds in the U.S. decreased from 5,244 in 1982 to 2,115 in 2004 in large measure because of the legal drinking age of 21 and Zero Tolerance Laws.
Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl
Licensed Medical Health Professional
I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More
Impaired Driving: Get the Facts provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html.
What Is BAC provided by Stanford University: https://alcohol.stanford.edu/alcohol-drug-info/buzz-buzz/what-bac.
Alcohol and Driving provided by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation: https://adf.org.au/insights/alcohol-and-driving/.
Alcohol-Impaired Driving in the United States: Review of Data Sources and Analyses provided by the U.S National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK500064/
Return from Alcohol Driving to Alcohol Abuse Effects
Return from Alcohol Driving to Alcoholism Help Homepage