How does drinking alcohol affect your ability to drive?

| Jun 10, 2021 | OUI |

For many people of various ages in Massachusetts and around the nation, drinking goes hand-in-hand with enjoying themselves socially. It might seem like a harmless activity – until something tragic happens.

Maybe you like to have a few beers while watching a sports event on TV at a local bar. Or you go out to a restaurant for dinner and drinks to celebrate a family member’s wedding anniversary or birthday. You might unwind after a tough day at work by casually downing an alcoholic beverage or two at home to relax.

The issue isn’t simply the drinking itself. It’s the undeniable affect that consuming alcohol has on your mind and body as you continue to drink, then get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. What you may not realize is that as you keep imbibing, your judgment and ability to react while you are on the road are being diminished by alcohol to the point where you could pose a significant danger to yourself and others.

The statistics about drinking and driving tell a grim story. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Every day, about 28 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 52 minutes. In 2019, these deaths reached the lowest percentage since 1982 when NHTSA started reporting alcohol data — but still 10,142 people lost their lives.”

What is alcohol’s typical effect on someone?

The NHTSA states that alcohol “reduces the function of the brain, impairing thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination.” There are many ways that drinking even a little can hinder you physically and mentally when you drive.

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Judgment and vision are not as sharp
  • Reaction time is lessened
  • Coordination becomes tougher

There is legal help available for anyone who is dealing with the consequences of their drinking.