Even though drinking and driving comes with severe and deadly consequences, people still choose to get behind the wheel after having too many drinks. Many individuals lack the knowledge of what alcohol can do to the brain.
Therefore, they put themselves and others at risk of serious harm and danger by deciding to drive under the influence. A drunk driving accident can lead to serious injuries and even death for the driver, passenger, pedestrians, or anyone else involved.
What exactly does alcohol do to the brain?
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol can affect a person’s brain in various ways. In fact, it can impact “the way the brain looks and works.” A few of the elements that alcohol has a strong effect on include:
- Speech and communication
Chronic heavy drinking can even change and shrink individuals’ neurons, which are small cells in the brain that help you breathe, eat, walk, talk, and even think. While these may seem like small things, without being able to do these simple tasks, your quality of life will be greatly affected.
Can you black out after drinking too much alcohol?
When individuals drink too much alcohol, they may experience a “blackout.” This is very dangerous when driving because blackouts can cause individuals to enter into a state of not being present and not being able to remember anything during this time. If a car accident occurs, the drunk driver may have a blackout and not have any recollection of what caused the accident, who was involved, or any other important information related to the accident.
Five reasons why drinking makes driving so dangerous
After having drinks with friends or family, it is crucial that you refrain from driving yourself home. Instead, you should opt to spend the night at a friend or family member’s house, ask someone who is sober to drive you home, or hire a rideshare service to pick you up. Choosing to drive after consuming alcohol will only put you and other drivers or pedestrians on the roadway in harm’s way. It does not matter if you are under the 0.08 legal BAC limit in Chicago; any alcohol in your system can severely impact your driving abilities. Here are five reasons why drinking makes driving so dangerous:
- Inability to make decisions or judgments while driving
Alcohol can stand in the way of making sound decisions and judgments. As a matter of fact, drivers who are driving while impaired often make decisions that they likely would not have made if they had no alcohol in their systems. This can cause you to act carelessly or recklessly behind the wheel, which can lead to a dangerous or deadly accident. For example, you may not be able to make simple decisions or judgments such as making a turn, stopping at a stop light in time, and avoiding debris in the roadway.
- Coordination issues and delayed reactions
By having alcohol in your body, you will be unable to react quickly enough to certain issues. This means that if a car suddenly slams on brakes or cuts you off, you will not be able to react quickly enough to prevent an accident from occurring. While it is already difficult to react to certain situations while driving, alcohol can make this a lot harder. In addition, you will likely experience coordination issues, affecting your ability to safely drive the vehicle, remain sitting up straight, and keep other drivers and pedestrians safe and harm-free.
- Vision problems
One of the most important parts about driving is clearly seeing the road and your surroundings. However, alcohol in your system will prevent you from being able to successfully do this. For example, the road may appear blurry, you may be unable to keep your eyes open, or you may not be able to move or control your eyes. If you cannot see the roads, other cars or pedestrians nearby, or the steering wheel and other controls within the car, you will most likely crash and cause an accident.
- Inability to focus or concentrate
Any alcohol in your system can cause you to lose focus and concentration. Therefore, you may be unable to pay attention to the road and your surroundings because you cannot give your full focus and concentration to one thing for long. This makes it extremely difficult for drivers to follow the speed limit, give the car in front of them adequate space, watch for stop signs or lights, and stay in their lanes.
- Memory loss
As mentioned, individuals who drink and drive are prone to having blackouts and memory loss. Therefore, you may not be able to remember important things and may even continue to drive during a blackout. When this happens, you are most likely unaware of your behavior and actions, which is extremely dangerous while operating a heavy and powerful vehicle.
What is Chicago, IL doing to reduce and prevent drinking and driving?
An article released by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority goes over some of the strategies that the state is following and implementing to reduce and prevent drinking and driving. One of the most shocking findings that the article mentions is that “an individual will drive drunk an average of 80 times before their first arrest for impaired driving.” This indicates that many drunk drivers are repeat offenders, meaning that they may need treatment for their substance use disorders. The following are a few of the methods Chicago and the rest of Illinois is using to combat drinking and driving:
- DUI courts: DUI courts specifically focus on DUI cases. The judge, jury, prosecution, and others involved have a goal in mind, which is to ensure that those who have DUI charges against them are given the resources and guidance they need to reduce their chances of becoming a repeat offender.
- Ignition interlock devices: An ignition interlock device is a tool placed in a car that tests the driver’s breath for alcohol before they can start their car. The driver will also need to blow into the device during the drive to ensure that they are not consuming any alcohol while driving. Ignition interlock devices have been proven to be successful in keeping individuals from getting behind the wheel and drinking.
- Sobriety checkpoints: Another strategy frequently used is sobriety checkpoints. This requires all drivers to be stopped at a certain point on the road, giving officers the opportunity to check whether or not any drivers are driving with alcohol in their system. Sobriety checkpoints around Chicago help reduce driving while impaired by increasing fear of being caught and alerting the public that officers are checking for drinking and driving. There must be reasonable suspicion before the officer can ask a person to take a breathalyzer test, but the checkpoint itself is usually enough to deter driving under the influence.
If you have been injured by a drunk driver and need legal assistance, Gainsberg Law is here to help you. Our Chicago drunk driving accident lawyers are experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable when it comes to drunk driving accidents. Therefore, we have what it takes to hold a drunk driver accountable for the harm they have caused you. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free and confidential consultation today, and we will gladly help you seek compensation for your losses.