Driving a vehicle requires undivided attention. A personâ€™s span of attention is directly proportional to his/her ability to concentrate. Itâ€™s a fact that road conditions are unpredictable and the fine line between crash and no-crash, every time you drive, seems to be diminishing even more. So what happens if you add alcohol to the mix? What happens to your ability to concentrate and drive?
Alcohol suppresses the central nervous system and the short term effects depend on the blood alcohol level. They range from mild mood changes to complete loss of coordination, vision and balance. The latter can have devastating effects.
A tenet of safe driving is the ability to foresee or anticipate what is likely to happen. Alcohol impairs these mental functions. Inability to anticipate leads to slow decision making. Of particular concern is the willingness of a driver to take greater risks after drinking. Alcohol tends to produce more uninhibited and aggressive behavior, and thus, poor driving decisions. Alcohol then gradually impairs motor skills. Muscle coordination is affected and that in turn affects vehicle control.
As you read this, there is someone, somewhere, in the country who has just met with an accident due to drunk driving. Everyday, a large number of people are caught by cops. The Mumbai Police, for instance, conducts regular checks and the results show that strict enforcement is the need of the hour.
The conviction of Bollywood actor, Salman Khan, in the 2002 hit and run case shows that no can be above the law. Cases such as that of Alistair Pereira and Nikhil Nandaâ€™s BMW case are reminders to others to learn from their mistakes. People who drink and drive must realise that they not only endanger their lives but also of other road users. Think itâ€™s not that serious? Then you should visit the victims and their families. People have lost life and limb, many a times due to the negligence of a drunk driver.
Who knows, the driver in the car next to yours is drunk? Reporting drink driving is also important. You may just save your life, if not someone else’s. Also, letting your near and dear ones drive home, drunk, after a party isn’t a shining example of responsible behaviour either.
There can simply be no excuse to get behind the wheel of a car or hop on a two-wheeler if you are drunk. If it’s urgent, get someone sober to drive you. If you are alone, call a cab. There are radio taxiâ€™s these days so finding one will not be a problem. Think that’s expensive? Well certainly not more than anyone’s life.