Adults must walk a fine line when consuming alcohol. Though some adults may feel impaired after a single drink, many others can still drive safely after enjoying an alcoholic beverage with dinner or during a gathering with friends. Despite that, it is important that adults behave responsibly and recognize that even a relatively small amount of alcohol can impair their judgment.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers typically experience some loss of judgment and altered mood even when their blood alcohol concentration is .02, which is well below the legal limit to operate an automobile. When that BAC rises to .05, which also is well below the legal limit, drivers can expect to experience a loss of small-muscle control, a reduction in alertness and even difficulty steering. And it’s not just alcohol that can affect drivers, as the NHTSA warns motorists taking prescription medications or new medicines to avoid driving until they realize how a given drug affects their judgment, coordination and reaction time.
With so much on the line each time they get behind the wheel, drivers have much to gain from recognizing the physical and mental signs that suggest they should avoid driving after consuming alcohol or taking medication.
Physical indicators include slower reflexes, delayed reaction time, slurred speech, nausea, lack of coordination and fatigue.
Mental indicators include forgetfullnes, feelings of confusion, difficulty understanding complex ideas, a loss of inhibition and delayed realizations.