When driving, the human brain has to deal with a large variety of tasks and data input. In order to safely drive, one must maintain attentiveness, make quick decisions based on ever-changing information from the environment, and execute specific – sometimes difficult – maneuvers based on these decisions. Drinking alcohol will impact your driving ability.
Young drivers are known to be inexperienced in driving. It is clear that when alcohol is added to the equation, the effects will only get worse. Young people have crash rates that are substantially higher than those of other groups, especially at low and moderate blood alcohol levels.
Common myths about drinking and driving:
Coffee will wake me up enough to drive safely.
Only time will rid your body of alcohol. Caffeine in coffee will make you jittery but it cannot keep you alert and restore judgment lost to alcohol consumption.
I stay with beer and never drink the hard stuff so I'll be fine to drive.
Alcohol is alcohol. A 12 oz beer has as much alcohol as a 1.5 oz whiskey or 5 oz of wine. Many people who believe this drink more beer and become more intoxicated than if they had only consumed one or two whiskeys.
Bigger people can handle their alcohol better so they can drink and still drive.
The first drink of alcohol begins to slow your motor skills, vision and judgment. It is true that body size does figure in the rate alcohol affects you, but you must also consider individual metabolism, the amount of rest you had and when you last ate. All of this makes for some very complex calculations regarding when you are safe to drive.
As long as I roll down the window and get some fresh air I'll be fine. I'll turn up the radio really loud. I'll splash cold water on my face.
One more time – Alcohol is alcohol is alcohol. Time is the only way to lower your blood alcohol level. Cold wind or cold water in your face will not return your alertness, motor skills and judgment.
When I've been drinking, I compensate by driving very slowly.
Drinking and driving is not safe at any speed. In fact, even driving too slowly will make you a traffic hazard and could cause a crash.
Information from AlcoholAlert! – Intervention at the Point of Consumption website