Driving and Traffic Safety: Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Alcohol, Drug, and Substance Abuse
Alcohol, drug or substance abuse is defined when a person actively seeks out a drug or alcohol to get high or drunk. They will develop a tolerance to that drug and will need an ever-increasing dose to get the same high. Teens are the most at risk to become addicted and dependent on drugs or alcohol. The federal government regulates 5 types of controlled substances: depressants, stimulants, narcotics, hallucinogens, and steroids. Most of these drugs can produce dependence by the user.
Mixing Alcohol and Drugs
If alcohol is consumed along with other drugs, it leads to synergistic effects, which means the effects of the alcohol or drugs (or both, as is often the case) are enhanced. In addition, many drugs available for prescription already can make you drowsy. When alcohol is also consumed, you will be even more drowsy and light-headed. Thus if you use a beer to down a pain reliever, you can easily be too impaired to drive, and you may have other problems also. Avoid mixing alcohol with other drugs, even if it is just medicine. Drugs can never cancel each other out. It is both unsafe and illegal to mix alcohol with other drugs
Alcohol and Drugs Abuse and How it Affects Judgement of Drivers
Alcohol and drugs can impact your driving ability and put you at a risk of causing an accident or highway injury. Safe driving requires the ability to concentrate, make good judgements and quickly react to situations. Here are the 5 ways alcohol and drugs can impair your driving:
Slow reaction time: when alcohol and drugs that cause drowsiness (even legal drugs) are in your system, your response time will slow down which increases the likelihood of an accident.
Lack of Coordination: heavy drinking affects your motor skills such as eye, hand and foot coordination. Without crucial coordination skills, you are unable to avoid an accident.
Reduce Concentration: alcohol and some drugs will reduce your concentration and you may not be able to simple things properly such as stay in your lane, maintain your speed and react to other cars or traffic signals.
Decrease vision: excessive alcohol will negatively impact your vision and some drugs will even cause hallucination. After drinking, you will notice your vision is blurred or you’re unable to control your eye movement. Impaired vision can affect how you judge the distance between your car and other vehicles on the road. Your peripheral vision may also be affected.
Inhibit judgment: without proper judgement, you cannot make proper decisions on the road. All you need is one bad decision to get into an accident.
Substance Abuse on Mental Health
Teen substance abuse can lead to serious mental health consequences now and into adulthood. They often feel unmotivated and apathetic, lose interest in their favorite activities and withdraw from their family and friends. These teens will also have lower self-confidence and trouble coping with school or job demands. Emotionally, they will experience unpredictable anger, aggression, violence, relationship problems and inability to get along with others. They will also take more risks such as getting in fights, stealing, engaging in dangerous sexual behaviors or driving while impaired. This will also lead to mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, mood swings, suicide and memory loss.
So whether you are driving or not, substance abuse is a big NO.