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How Does Alcohol Affect Your Ability to Drive?

It’s well-known that alcohol affects your judgment the more you drink. It also impacts your fine motor skills, reaction time, and other mental abilities. This is why intoxicated people often make bad decisions they normally would never make. Often, this poor judgment can lead to driving while intoxicated despite the danger. 

Alcohol is an inhibitor - it affects your central nervous system and slows things down. Here are some standard effects of drinking, and how they might impact your ability to drive safely: 

Slowed Reaction Time 

The alcohol affects your ability to process information. It also slows your response time. This is dangerous when you’re on the road, because it means you may not react in time when another car gets too close, or a pedestrian crosses in front of you. This could result in tragic crashes or property damages, or worse. 


 Alcohol is a depressant, which means it has the effect of making people tired or drowsy. Driving while you are having trouble staying awake is incredibly dangerous. You could drift into another lane, or cause a crash if you fall asleep at the wheel.

Shortened Attention Span or Lack of Concentration

Drinking reduces your attention span and prevents you from concentrating on the road. Drinking definitely impacts your attention span, making it hard to concentrate on the road. You could have trouble focusing on other drivers, staying in your lane, obeying traffic laws, and other actions you need to take in order to drive safely. Your decision-making is impacted, and you will be unable to pay attention. This may lead to risky behaviors and possible crashes.  

Impaired Vision

Everyone has heard of “beer goggles”. The old term came about because consuming alcohol can create vision problems. People may discover they have blurred vision or inability to focus while drinking. This can lead to trouble on the road, as it’s important to know exactly where other cars and intersections are. If you cannot see properly, you may run into issues and cause a crash. 

Trouble With Coordination

Driving is a complex skill that requires coordination between your eyes, hands, and feet to maintain control. If you have been drinking, your coordination is impacted and you may have trouble staying in your lane, making turns, and correctly operating your gas and brakes.  

These issues don’t just crop up when you hit .08 percent BAC. You will feel some of these effects after having just one drink. They will grow in intensity the more you consume. If you are ever unsure about being able to properly drive, make an alternative choice. Put down your keys and call for a ride. You don’t want to risk your life or the lives of others.