Drugs have effects on our brain that damage the abilities and alter the perceptions we need to drive a vehicle safely, a dangerous and forbidden situation. Do not forget that it is not just the driver who is putting him/herself in danger, but also the rest of the occupants of the vehicle and the people on the road.
Every drug affects the brain differently, but they all negatively affect our motor skills, balance, judgment and coordination, which are critical for driving normally and safely.
The 2014 report on fatal traffic accident victims by the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Science shows that nearly 40 percent of drivers killed that year tested positive for the presence of drugs, alcohol and/or psychotropic substances in their blood.
In this context, it is conceivable that we need to understand the effects of these substances on our ability to drive a car, a motorcycle or any other vehicle.
Goal: Zero Drugs
If there were zero tolerance for drugs and drivers did not exceeded the legal alcohol limit, between 900 and 1500 lives would be saved a year, according to Tráfico. Therefore, it is worth considering a Goal Zero tolerance for driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs.
It is true that figures on use have gone down in recent years, but we cannot let our guard down, because this is still a problem of great magnitude.
How drugs affect driving
As we told you already, drugs always have a negative effect on the driver in his/her ability to perform this task safely. The individual’s altered behavior is evident and results in a state of physical and psychological dependence with varying effects depending on whether the substance is a depressant (calming neuronal activity and reducing physical activity), a stimulant (which increases neuronal activity and bodily functions) or a hallucinogenic (affecting the individual’s perception).
Depressants (cannabis, heroin, morphine and methadone), tranquilizers and liquid ecstasy diminish the ability to react. In other words, your reaction time increases, making it impossible or difficult for you to act in the case of a traffic incident. A lack of concentration and reflexes creates undesirable hazardous situations that cannot be controlled by the driver.
The opposite effect is created by stimulants, such as amphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy, but their impact on driving brings us to the same dramatic result. Usually, their use leads to a false sense of control and a decrease in fatigue and sleepiness. The body begins to experience symptoms of lack of coordination, diminished reflexes and visual and hearing problems. All of these things can clearly be a key factor in the instigation of a traffic accident.
In third place, hallucinogens, such as mushrooms, LSD or ketamine, have such an effect on the brain that the individual develops hallucinations, imagined perceptions or nonexistent visions, which is not suitable for driving safely on the open road.
As if that were not enough, the use of these substances awakens violent emotions and risky behaviors that endanger the safety of drivers and passengers on the road.
It is not enough to stop using either. Afterward, the human body develops so-called withdrawal, causing a series of physiological and behavioral changes that can be as dangerous as the effects of the drugs.
Some clear concepts on drugs and driving
There is no dispute: All drugs affect driver behavior and perception, so the combination of using and driving implies a significant risk. If you use, do not drive.
Do not take transportation with drivers who may be using any of these kinds of substances.
Reality is very different from the perception and the sense of control obtained after using drugs. The exact opposite.
The effects of drugs are not diluted after a while. It is not enough to just wait.
If you use, there is always a risk.