Drugs and Driving
Drinking and driving is talked about all the time, and most people are familiar with the facts and effects of drinking and driving, and therefore to avoid it, but can you say the same of drugs and driving? If you are not too sure, read on and see how marijuana and opioids can also affect driving.
The following list are changes seen in drivers under the influence of marijuana, taken from an American study done by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
- Altered time and space perception
- Lack of concentration
- Panic reactions and paranoia
- Dulling of attention
- Image distortion
- Increased reaction times
It is very easy to imagine how these changes could dramatically affect the skills that a driver needs. A lack of concentration, combined with distorted images and reaction time seems deadly enough without adding potential paranoia into the mix!
A person’s tolerance to a drug can be a major factor in whether a person can safely drive or not. Some people on prescription opioids have been determined to be safe to drive, but when a person is abusing an illicit opioid (taking the drug without a prescription, or not following the prescription guidelines), the outcome can be disastrous.
Investigations into cases where the driver tested positive for opioids revealed the following problems:
- Slow driving
- Poor vehicle control
- Slow response to stimuli
- Difficulty in following instructions
- Falling asleep at the wheel
Again, it is no stretch of the imagination to see how these changes can dramatically lessen a driver’s ability to safely handle a car on the road. The horrible thing with opioids is it is not just a heroin addict who may suffer from this, but a housewife addicted to medication, an elderly person following surgery or anyone else who has got themselves tangled up with painkiller addiction.
The important thing to remember is that driving should be done with care and full attention, that means no alcohol or drugs (with the exception of some prescription medication) should be added into the mix at all.
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