The legal limit for how much alcohol you can drink before you are not allowed to drive varies from country to country. Unfortunately, although people are aware of the alcohol limit many people choose to drive when they have had too much to drink. Many get away with it because they are travelling on deserted roads, late at night, and not very far. But others are not so lucky and either get fined and possibly imprisoned and required to attend a class at their local driving school by the Police or worse, end up in a severe car accident. In this article, we will examine the signs and symptoms of driving while under the influence of alcohol.
As a person drinks more alcohol they loose their inhibitions and become more bold and talkative, they also feel more confident in their abilities and take more risks without realising it. What they do not realise is that the sharpness of their senses is actually dulled their reaction times are significantly slower than when they are sober.
On the road, these symptoms can translate in erratic or high speed driving, an unsafe position in the road, they may be driving down the middle of the road, they may also inadvertently swerve as their drunken mind plays tricks on them in the dark. All these symptoms are easy to spot as all driving schools will cover this erratic behaviour in the theory parts of their learner packages.
Their behaviour may also mean that they are going through all the relevant driving processes but their sense of timing is off because their alcohol soaked brain cannot get the timing and the sequence of driving correct. This may mean that they indicate after they have turned, or indicate miles before they have to. They may have forgotten to put on their headlights or they may be soo paranoid about how drunk they are that they drive so slow it is unsafe to them and other road users.
What the driving schools will not be able to help you with is an accurate simulation of what it is like to be drunk. However there is a way. Tiredness and drunkenness are often associated with each other when we talk about a driver’s ability to concentrate. People who work 10 – 12 hour shifts and then drive home after a night shift often experience the symptoms of drunk driving, whilst sober. This feeling is completely down to sleep deprivation. If you are curious to feel what it is like to be a drunk driver without the alcohol soaked bravado that you are the best driver in the world, then stay up overnight, for 12 hours, concentrating and not drinking, then go for a drive. You will find that our senses do not react in the way you want them to, this is what it is like to be a drunk driver.
Other dangers include your increased flammability and the likelihood that, in an accident, you will not be wearing your seatbelt.
Jake Hyet works for My Driving Schools in Brisbane; he is a qualified instructor and has been doing it for 10 years. Jake has worked with the Police for 3 years and he visits a number of other Brisbane My Driving Schools where he gives talks on the impact of drink driving.