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Why Alcohol & Driving Don't Mix: A Look at How Alcohol Impairs Motorists

Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or greater is illegal in every state in the U.S. Despite this - and the fact that DUI penalties continue to grow harsher and harsher in many states, some motorists still make the dangerous and upsetting decision to get behind the wheel when they are impaired.

And this can threaten the lives of everyone else who ends up sharing the road with them. We'll explain why below.

The Impacts of Alcohol on Drivers

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Understanding how alcohol can affect drivers' abilities to safely operate a vehicle reveals how dangerous drunk driving is, a Lakewood auto accident attorney points out.

Although responsibly enjoying alcohol can be fun for some, for those who are planning on driving, alcohol impairment will impact their:

  • Perception - The ability to hear and see can be affected by alcohol impairment, which can impact depth perception, as well as the ability to determine where sounds are coming from. Additionally, being drunk can result in tunnel vision and pupil dilation, both of which can reduce visual acuity by more than 30 percent.
  • Coordination - Coordinating even basic movements and fine motor skills can become far more challenging for drivers who are drunk. For instance, while drunk drivers can have problems even getting keys into the ignition, they can also experience coordination problems when steering (overadjusting oftentimes), negotiating braking/turning vehicles, etc.
  • Comprehension and judgement - Alcohol can also cause drivers to misinterpret the signals, signs and driving cues around them - either mistaking these cues for something else or missing them altogether. Similarly, as drunk drivers miss comprehending some of the important things in their surroundings, they tend to become confused and exercise poor judgement. In fact, judgement impairments can start to arise with BACs as low as 0.02.
  • Reaction times - The combination of the above factors can all contribute to this impairment, which can cause motorists' responses to be delayed by as much as 20 to 25 percent. This delay can easily lead to crashes, especially when drivers are traveling at faster speeds (and they need to react ASAP).

Contact Lakewood Auto Accident Attorney James L. Finegan

Have you been injured in a car accident? If so, Lakewood Auto Accident Attorney James L. Finegan is here for you, ready to help you position your case for the maximum possible recovery.

To learn more about your rights and legal options, meet with Attorney James L. Finegan for a free, no obligations case evaluation. Schedule this meeting by calling (303) 980-5511 or (888) 980-5511. You can also send an email via the contact form on this page.

From offices based in Lakewood, CO, James L. Finegan, P.C. provides superior representation to clients throughout Jefferson County and the state of Colorado, including those in Denver County, Arapahoe County, Douglas County, Adams County and the Colorado Front Range region.

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