Impairment and Consequences of Drinking While Driving

Alcohol can seriously affect your senses, your judgment, and your reflexes. Driving under the influence of alcohol can not only place your life and the lives of others in peril, but it can also result in severe legal implications. It is crucial you understand the signs of alcohol impairment in yourself and those around you and know the consequences it could result in.

Know the signs of impaired driving – quick acceleration or deceleration, tailgating, and driving with headlights off at night are all potential signs that someone may be driving drunk. 

What To Do If You See An Impaired Driver

Pullover as soon as possible and call to report the driver. Recall the details of the vehicle and describe your exact location. Give details on which direction the driver is traveling in and what actions they did to give you suspicion of impaired driving.

Have a Plan

If you are planning on drinking, designate a sober driver ahead of time. If not, use a rideshare app or call a taxi to get you home safely.

Be Prepared To Pay More

If you do drive under the influence, be prepared to pay more for car insurance. Drivers charged with a DUI see their car insurance increase by as much as 70 percent!

Amber Yeray, Head of Marketing at SafeAuto

Impairments And Consequences of Drinking While Driving

There are several harmful effects that drinking and driving can have on you. Some of them include:

Impairment: Poor Judgement

To drive properly, you need to be able to make a good judgment as it has an important impact on your decisions. Drinking while driving prevents you from having good judgment hence making bad decisions. 

Impairment: Lack of Focus

When driving, you need to focus, as your life and others’ depend on it. When you drink while driving, you aren’t able to focus as your mind begins to get fuzzy and affects your concentration.  

Impairment: Poor Vision

Excessive alcohol affects your vision regardless of how great your sight is. You are unable to see properly, and your vision gets blurred. This could prevent you from seeing the road and other vehicles.

Impairment: Reduced Reaction

Naturally, after excessive drinking, your body is slow to respond because your mind isn’t functioning as it should. This could prevent you from reacting fast enough to prevent accidents on the road. You could be too slow in stopping your car and hitting someone else. 

All of these things affect not just yourself but everyone else who happens to be on the road at the same time as you, which puts them at risk. 

Cynthia Halow, Founder Personality Max

Legal Consequences

It depends upon state law, but DUI and DWI are both terms used to describe impaired or drunken driving. In some state laws, the term refers to the offense of drunken driving as a DUI, while others call it a DWI. 

It gets a bit confusing when states use both terms. Frequently, the state will refer one to alcohol and the other to impairment by drugs or an unknown substance, and the meaning can interchange from state to state. In some states, DWI refers to driving while intoxicated with alcohol with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit, while DUI is used when the driver is charged specifically with being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

DUI’s are expensive because the actual costs are more than monetary. A DUI offense can have significant monetary penalties associated, but it is also the potential jail time, suspension of a driver’s license, suspension of a professional license, and other ancillary issues that make a DUI offense so costly. The legal work involved in fighting a DUI charge is complicated and uncertain.

David Reischer, Esq. Traffic Law Attorney & CEO of LegalAdvice.com

Auto Insurance Consequences of DWI

The consequences of drinking and driving from an auto insurance point of view are financially painful.  In addition to all of the court and legal expenses, if the driver is found guilty of drinking while driving or DUI, they will experience the following insurance consequences. 

  • Higher auto insurance premiums for up to 10 years, depending on the state and insurance company. It’s about 20% – 25% higher premiums, and they are limited to high-risk auto insurance providers. This also means that they will lose any auto/home/umbrella discounts as well. 
  • They will have to buy an SR-22 endorsement – which is a certificate of insurance approved by the state, to prove one has auto insurance. That’s about $22 and up. 
  • They will find it very challenging to get life insurance as well. A lot of life insurance carriers will not write life insurance policies on those with major driving convictions such as a DUI.
  • They will also find it extremely difficult to get or keep an umbrella policy, which is an insurance policy that pays up to at least $1 million or more, once the main policy limits have expired due to a covered event.  So this places them at additional financial risk(s) if they are at fault for damages etc.

Earl Jones, Farmers Insurance Agent

Impairments: Loss of Inhibitions, Drowsiness

Some of the impairments that drinking and driving can cause are loss of inhibitions, changes in mood, drowsiness, or sleepiness. Drinking alcohol causes these things, making it more dangerous because people may not know what they’re capable of doing when they get behind the wheel after drinking. It’s better to avoid driving altogether if you’ve been drinking. 

Consequences: Accidents, Injury, and/or Death

The consequences of driving while impaired can be fatal and include: accidents, injury, or death to yourself or others. This is the most severe consequence that results from drunk driving, and it’s completely preventable because people don’t have to drink before getting behind the wheel if they’re going somewhere. If a person does get behind the wheel, though, they need to wait until they sober up before driving again. 

Drinking and driving are dangerous because of these impairments, which can lead to injury or loss of life. If you drink, don’t drive!

Megha Gadke, Founder at KetoConnect

Impairments: Effect on Vision, Concentration, and Comprehension

Safe driving requires alertness, focus, and the ability to make quick decisions in rapidly changing situations. Drinking alcohol can have an extreme effect on driving, including vision, concentration, comprehension, and control. In addition, drinking affects a person’s ability to respond to situations, which could be harmful and cause accidents on the road. 

Consequences: You Can Get Arrested

If you drive while intoxicated, you can get arrested. You could get yourself in trouble, too, just by crossing the wrong lane, honking carelessly, and having no regard for signals and stop lights. If you drink while driving, you can find yourself paying significant fines and having your license revoked.

Consequences: Can Endanger Lives

Impaired driving is a severe problem and has caused numerous accidents. As a result, you can put yourself in danger and your friends’ and families’ lives at stake. When you drive recklessly, you put yourself in a situation with high chances of an accident or possibly death. 

Drinking while driving is a highly significant issue that people should be aware of. While there are laws that prohibit drunk driving, some people still disregard it and don’t take it seriously. It’s terrifying to think that some people have no regard for their actions on the road, causing trouble and unnecessary chaos. 

What to Do Instead:

My advice on how to avoid drinking and driving: 

  • Drink responsibly! Only drink what your body can take and pay attention to how strong your drinks are. It also wouldn’t hurt to take friends’ advice to drink slowly and have something to eat before drinking.
  • Call a sober friend or family member when you think you’re drunk and can’t drive.
  • You can also take a cab if you feel like you’ve reached your alcohol limit.
  • Don’t take risks! If you feel like you’ve had enough, call somebody to drive you or have a sober friend or family member take you home. 

Tim Clarke, Director of Sales and Marketing at SEOBlog.com

Daisy Jensen
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