Table of Contents
How Much Can I Drink and Drive & What Is Drunk Driving?
Drink driving also referred to as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious criminal offence and refers to the operation of any motorised vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol. Driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 means you are considered impaired or unfit to drive and this amount alone can result in serious harm to yourself and others.
You wouldn’t be the first person to assume that you’re fit to drive because you can’t yet feel the effects of the alcohol. This is a particularly risky state to be in because you don’t see the need to assess the dangers. However, many people are unaware that even the smallest amount of alcohol in your system can sometimes be enough to cause an accident.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of alcoholism, you are at a greater risk of being convicted for drunk driving. Alcoholism is characterised by the chronic desire to drink despite any negative consequences that might occur as a result. If you’re suffering from alcohol addiction, you’re probably well aware that you’re driving under the influence, however, the chemical changes that have taken place in your brain won’t process the cause and effect of your actions. This increases the likelihood that you’ll engage in risky and dangerous behaviours such as driving whilst intoxicated.
Dangers of Drinking and Driving
Your ability to drive is directly impacted by the level of alcohol in your bloodstream. If you are found to have consumed anywhere over the recommended amount, you are at serious risk of causing injury to yourself as well as others. It can take approximately between 30 minutes to two hours for alcohol to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Within this timeframe, you may become aware of slowed breathing and a slight delay in your cognitive skills. Below are several ways in which your important cognitive functions can be impacted by alcohol:
Delayed reaction times
Alcohol directly impacts how quickly and efficiently you react to certain situations. Your response rate will be considerably low, increasing your chances of causing an accident. Delayed reaction times mean your brain is processing events at a much slower rate, so if a person walks out into the road, there is a chance you won’t have the time to avoid a serious accident.
Lack of coordination
Excessive drinking can affect certain motor skills and you may even notice your coordination has been affected if you begin to experience difficulty walking and are unable to stand straight without swaying.
Driving requires your complete, undivided attention, and it only takes a small amount of alcohol to negatively impact your driving. Not only are you at risk of straying from your lane, you have a much higher chance of ignoring traffic signs and warnings.
Many people experience blurred vision when they’ve consumed too much alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption can negatively impact your vision. This can affect your ability to judge the distance between your car and other obstacles and vehicles on the road.
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How Does the Blood Alcohol Level Affect Driving?
If you have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher, then you are legally impaired and therefore not permitted to drive. As mentioned earlier on, it only takes a small amount of alcohol to impact your basic functions and can affect most of your senses after just one drink. It’s simply not worth the risk of putting yourself and others in danger.
The list below outlines how different levels of blood alcohol content (BAC) can affect your driving:
- A BAC of 0.02 is enough to significantly impair your judgment, and raise your overall temperature. It can also cause changes in mood and impact your vision.
- A BAC of 0.05 can reduce alertness and your ability to detect objects. It can also affect sound judgement, resulting in a heavily reduced response rate.
- A BAC of 0.08 can lead to a lack of coordination and self-control, impaired judgment, short-term memory loss and reduced ability to process information.
- A BAC of 0.10 can cause slowed reaction times, difficulty controlling your vehicle and trouble using the brake when necessary.
- A BAC of 0.15 can result in an extreme loss of balance, nearly zero muscle control, vomiting, impaired visual and auditory information processing, significantly reduced attention to driving tasks
It’s vital to remember that, although you may not feel intoxicated, even a small amount of alcohol has the ability to impair judgement and crucial cognitive functions. Taking a risk because you feel satisfied that you are sober is not worth the devastating consequences that can occur as a result.
Getting Help for Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a condition that can be treated with the correct therapy once you have completed a detox. Getting the help you need early on in your addiction will significantly reduce the risk of causing a fatal accident as a result of drunk driving.
CATCH Recovery is here to help you begin your recovery journey. Our London-based rehab clinic offers a range of treatment therapies designed to give you the tools you need to beat the physical and psychological aspects of addiction and maintain long-term sobriety.