Effects on driving

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
Drinking and driving can be a deadly combination. According to the National Council on Alcoholism, it's estimated that two out of five Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related accident at some time during their lives. This accounts for more than 40 thousand deaths each year. Alcohol impairs your body's motor ability, including muscle functioning, reaction time, eyesight, depth perception, and night vision, and also affects the part of the brain that controls judgement and inhibition. Alcohol acts in several ways on the optic nerve and effects the transmission of brain signals, which can lead to false estimation of distances, night blindness, and a reduction in the visual field. Nevertheless, because your motor skills are impaired due to the depressant effects of the drug, you may feel less inhibited and more self-confident about your driving skills. Since alcohol leads to loss of self-control and problems in reflexes and vision, this puts you at a high risk for accidents. This is why you should never drive while intoxicated or ride in a car with someone who's been drinking. Instead, call a cab or someone you know to come get you, and if you're going to drink, you should designate a non-drinking driver. For more information about alcohol's effects on driving, contact a healthcare professional.

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