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Drunk Driving Increases the Likelihood of Other Dangerous Behaviors

By Marc A. Johnston, posted in Drunk Driving on August 8, 2019

Drunk driving continues to be one of the leading causes of car accidents in Portland. Each year, DUI-related crashes leave thousands of drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians suffering serious and potentially debilitating injuries. Many drivers fail to realize the dangers they expose themselves and others too when they drink and get behind the wheel. The following outlines some of the physical and cognitive impairments caused by drinking, as well as the potentially risky behaviors drivers are more likely to engage in while drunk.  

Impacts of Driving Under the Influence

Driving is a complex skill. Even modest amounts of alcohol can cause significant enough impairments to make car accidents and injuries more likely to occur. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), having three or four glasses of wine or beer over the course of an hour impacts driving abilities and is likely to result in a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, which is above the legal limit. Even lesser amounts can impact body functions needed to operate a motor vehicle safely. The NIH warns that the most common and potentially dangerous effects of alcohol include: 

  • Impaired vision: This can make it difficult to see which lane you are in or other drivers on the road. It can also make it harder to recover from glare due to passing headlights and street lamps.
  • Reduced reflexes and reaction times: Being under the influence slows your reflexes, inhibiting your ability to respond to changes in road or traffic conditions. 
  • Impaired judgment: Poor judgment leads you to not acknowledge how intoxicated you are and to make dangerous choices while driving. 
  • Decreased concentration: Traffic lights, passing scenery, other motorists, and distractions in the vehicle can all cause drunk drivers to not pay attention to the road for extended periods. 

Alcohol Increases Risks of Other Dangerous Driving Behaviors

According to traffic crash reports from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), alcohol is a factor in roughly half of all car accidents that occur in our area each year. In addition to impairing physical and cognitive abilities needed to operate a motor vehicle safely, being under the influence also makes you more likely to engage in other potentially dangerous driving behaviors. These include: 

  • Speeding and going too fast for conditions: Being under the influence makes it harder for drivers to regulate their speed. 
  • Disregarding traffic signs and signals: Impaired vision and slowed reaction times leads to running red lights, failing to yield, and not following other traffic signals.  
  • Driving distracted: Drunk drivers are more likely to be distracted by texting and talking to other passengers or by reaching for items and changing stereo or GPS settings. 
  • Improper passing: This increases the risk of deadly side impact and head-on collisions. 

Let Us Help You Today

Drunk drivers routinely cause serious harm to others on the road. When a DUI related car accident impacts you or a loved one, the Johnston Law Firm is here to help. To request a consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland drunk driving accident attorneys online today.  

Marc Johnston
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