5 Ways Alcohol Can Impair Your Ability to Drive

Why Drinking and Driving Is So Dangerous


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 10,000 people die each year in drunk driving crashes in the United States. That means 28 people die each year and a person dies every 52 minutes in alcohol-related traffic accidents. 

Few people realize how even a small amount of alcohol can impair their ability to perform two tasks at once and impair their judgment. There has been a push across the United States to lower the legal limit from a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent. Utah is the first state to have successfully done it, but other states have lawmakers considering the move.

Consider the following five reasons that drinking and driving are a dangerous combination:

  1. Alcohol reduces a person’s reaction time.
  2. Drinking can impair your vision.
  3. Alcohol can make you extremely drowsy.
  4. Drinking can affect a person’s coordination.
  5. Alcohol can make it difficult to concentrate.

Even at a low blood alcohol concentration, you may experience impairment making it difficult for you to drive or safely operate a vehicle. At a BAC of 0.05 percent, NHTSA states that a person may have reduced coordination and response time. A person may also have difficulty steering. This means that during an emergency situation, such as the sudden braking of a car in front of you, a person may be unable to stop in time. 

The higher a person’s BAC or the more drinks that they have, the greater the effect on their driving. With a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, people may experience impaired perception, poor muscle coordination, and more.

The dangers of drinking and driving are real and affect you, your passengers, and other people on the road. It is important to seek professional help if you are unable to stop drinking or have a dependence on alcohol.