Restorations Therapy Blog

The Dangers of Drinking and Driving

by on Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

Alcohol causes havoc in the lives of the people it touches. The more severe the consumption becomes, the more severe the consequences are. It is not uncommon for those struggling with severe alcoholism to make the decision to drink and drive. However, it should be understood that even those without a drinking problem might make this choice. Even if you only drink once in a while, there will likely come a time when you are out and too drunk to drive. You may begin to weigh the pros and cons of driving home, thinking you will be okay. However, the consequences both to yourself and others are not worth the risk. In this article, you will learn the dangers of drinking and driving as a way to promote sober driving and making the right decision when you have had too much to drink. 

Defining Drinking and Driving

Drinking and driving take on different names in the eyes of the law, depending on what state you are in. It can be classified as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). According to the US Department of Transportation, drunk driving is defined as “operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.” In the United States, driving while intoxicated is classified as driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) equal to or higher than 0.08%. This is measured by taking into account the amount of alcohol (mass) per volume of blood in a person’s body. 

Who Is More at Risk for Drinking and Driving?

Individuals who suffer from an alcohol use disorder (AUD) are the most at risk for drinking and driving. This is because these individuals struggling with addiction drink more than others in a shorter amount of time. Depending on the amount of alcohol, it can take anywhere between thirty minutes to two hours for it to be processed by your liver and absorbed into the bloodstream. This process can take even longer if the person’s liver is damaged from long-term alcohol abuse, unable to filter the substance out properly, due to the early stages of cirrhosis. Because the absorption takes longer, the person will feel drunk faster and for a longer amount of time, making driving a dangerous decision. 

Warning Signs of Being Under the Influence

There are signs and symptoms that can help you identify whether you or someone you care about is too drunk to drive. These are physical, mental, and behavioral signs. They depend on the person and the amount of alcohol consumed, but any mix can appear to show that you or your friend is intoxicated and should not drive. 

Physical

Physical symptoms of intoxication include slurred speech, staggered walking, being unbalanced, hearing loss, droopy eyes, signs of fatigue, slower reflexes, and more. These can be displayed quite obviously or may be difficult to notice. 

Mental

Mental symptoms of intoxication include confusion, anxiety, depression, blackout, and more. The drunker someone becomes, the more intense these symptoms will become. 

Behavioral

Behavioral symptoms of intoxication vary from person to person. Some people become very affectionate when they are drunk, while others become aggressive and irritable. Noticing changes in behavior or personality is often a good sign someone has had too much to drink.

The Consequences of Drinking and Driving

Unfortunately, many individuals find themselves in a situation where they are driving while under the influence. Most often, they realize they shouldn’t be driving and are doing it anyway. This decision can be costly, however — both to themselves and others. 

Legal Problems

Legal issues are perhaps the least of your problems when it comes to drinking and driving. Even so, they are serious and should not be taken lightly. Drinking and driving can result in an arrest under the definition of a DUI or DWI. This can lead to fines, loss of license, house arrest, probation, and possibly even jail time. The charge will also stay on your permanent record. 

Medical Expenses

Causing harm to yourself while drinking and driving can cause a buildup in medical expenses and physical trauma. The money problems often remain even after your body heals, making it difficult to continue your life as normal. It is not worth putting yourself into debt because of one unintelligent decision. 

Damage to Property

Driving while intoxicated, even below the legal limit, can be dangerous. There is a potential to crash your car and cause damage to more property. This can cause property damage to buildings, cars, land, and more. This can lead you into a world of legal issues, not only for driving while drunk but also for any associated property damage. 

Loss of Life and Physical Trauma

Along with property damage, it is common to cause extreme physical harm to yourself and other individuals, including death. This will naturally cause a ripple effect of grief, loss, pain, anger, and sadness. It is not worth someone’s life — including your own — to drink and drive. 

Drinking and driving can cause a ripple effect of tragic consequences for those who make the regrettable decision, as well as complete strangers. The damage resulting from one decision can last a lifetime and affect various aspects of your future, as well as the futures of those who have been impacted. Understanding the legal definition of driving under the influence, knowing the signs of intoxication, and being aware of the potential consequences can deter someone from drinking and driving. At Restorations Therapy, we have extensive experience helping our clients with alcoholism and its consequences, including drinking and driving. We offer personalized care, including individual counseling, group counseling, couples’ therapy, and more. Our friendly, highly-trained staff can work closely with you to develop a treatment plan that best addresses your unique needs and sets you up for success in recovery. For more information about the types of programs we offer, call us today at (720) 446-6585. 

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