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How alcohol impairs a drinker’s driving ability

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2023 | Personal Injury |

We have all heard that drinking and driving is extremely dangerous and an unnecessary risk. But have you ever wondered what drinking alcohol does that specifically impairs a person’s ability to drive safely and increases the chances of a car accident?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol reduces four key driving skills:

  • Judgment. Safe driving requires you to constantly make decisions based on your past experience and knowledge. Alcohol impairs the parts of your brain that control judgment, leading you to make unsafe choices, such as driving too fast or other unnecessary risks.
  • Vision. Nobody can drive safely unless they can see clearly. Alcohol can cause double vision, blurred vision and poor focus — all recipes for disaster on the road. It also affects your ability to judge distance and how fast other vehicles are moving.
  • Reaction time. In a dangerous situation, you might not have more than a second or two to react and avoid a collision. But alcohol slows down your ability to process information (such as a car heading toward you) and respond (such as by slamming on the brakes or swerving out of the way).
  • Distinguishing between colors. The ability to tell road signs apart and read traffic lights largely depends on how well you can distinguish colors, though most color-blind people can still drive safely. But for someone used to identifying a red light by its color, alcohol’s impairing their ability to distinguish colors can lead to a grave mistake.

Even a couple of beers or glasses of wine can make someone too impaired to drive. But people in New Orleans drive drunk every day. If one of them hits you, the damage to your body, career and quality of life could be disastrous and irreversible. Louisiana law recognizes the right of car accident victims to seek compensation from the responsible driver, but you need to take action yourself. Fortunately, you can work with a personal injury lawyer for advice and representation when dealing with the insurance company and the court.