Anyone who has ever drunk alcohol knows how it can affect their mood and inhibitions. And we all know that drunk driving is against the law in Virginia for a reason. But have you ever wondered how alcohol affects the brain and makes drinking and driving so dangerous?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that alcohol makes someone unfit to drive in four ways:
- Judgment. Alcohol affects the part of the brain that controls your judgment — the collection of prior experiences and knowledge that lets you react correctly to a present situation. Impaired judgment can lead to mistakes and severe injuries in car accidents.
- Reaction time. Safe driving requires quick reactions to changing situations on the road. But alcohol is a depressant that makes you feel drowsy and slows down your ability to process information. A few seconds of delay can cause a disaster.
- Vision. Alcohol blurs your vision and affects how you judge the distance and movement of objects. Obviously, anything that impairs these vital senses seriously affects anybody’s ability to avoid a wreck.
- Color distinction. Alcohol can reduce your perception of colors. Unless you are color blind and used to this, not being able to notice a red stop sign or traffic signal can occur.
Despite ample warnings and public service campaigns warning us about drunk driving, it remains a menace in Fairfax County. Drunk drivers choose to put the public in danger instead of only driving when sober. The law allows victims of DUI car crashes to hold the motorist responsible in civil court. Damages can include lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering.