How taking drugs before you get behind the wheel will make you a terrible driver

Getting behind the wheel while high or mashed off your face is obviously a terrible idea.

But even though new laws were introduced last year to clamp down on drug driving, tonnes of people still take the risk.

Illegal or medical drugs contributed to 62 fatal road crashes last year and another 259 causing serious injury. On top of that some 8,000 people were arrested for drug driving between March 2015 and April this year.

This is despite how badly having drugs in your system impairs your driving.  All of the most commonly used illegal drugs will make you a terrible driver. Just take a look at Brake’s summary below:

Drug driving

More than 8,000 people were arrested for drug driving in the first year of the new law .

Cannabis (2µg/L): Slows reactions; affects concentration; often gives a sedative-like effect, resulting in fatigue; affects co-ordination. Research using driver simulators has found cannabis makes drivers less able to steer accurately and slower to react to another vehicle pulling out

Cocaine (10µg/L) : Causes over-confidence; can cause erratic behaviour. After a night out using cocaine, people may feel like they have flu, feel sleepy and lack concentration

Ecstasy (10µg/L) : Makes the heart beat faster, which can cause a surge of adrenaline and result in a driver feeling over-confident and taking risks

Ketamine (20µg/L): Can cause muscle paralysis; hallucinations; confusion, agitation, panic attacks; and memory impairment

LSD: Can speed up or slow down time and movement, making the speed of other vehicles difficult to judge; can distort colour, sound and objects; may cause people to see objects which aren’t there; makes people feel panicky and confused

Speed: Makes people feel wide awake and excited, causing erratic behaviour and risk-taking; and can make people panicky. Users have difficulty sleeping, so will be unsafe to drive due to tiredness, sometimes for several days

But it’s not just illegal drugs that will impair your ability to drive, many prescription drugs will do to.  A UK study in 2000 found 5% of drivers and 4% of motorcyclists who died in road crashes had taken medicines that could have affected their driving.  Aside from the dangers you pose to other drivers by getting behind the wheel with drugs on your system, the legal ramifications are bad too.

Drivers convicted of drug driving receive::

* A minimum 12-month driving ban

* A criminal record; and

* A fine of up to £5,000, or up to 6 months in prison, or both Greg Marah, a spokesperson for Brake, told that It is estimated that 200 deaths a year in the UK may result from drug driving.

He added: ‘Drink-driving is rightly seen as socially unacceptable, yet the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs are not as well-known and the drivers who choose to drug drive need to know that it’s illegal and potentially lethal.

‘With Police now having the power to test for drugs at the roadside, there is no hiding place for those who engage in this behaviour and endanger lives on our roads.  ‘However, with traffic policing being hit hard by budget cuts and resources stretched, more drivers may still be escaping prosecution despite these advances in testing for drug driving.

‘Every day we see the devastating consequences of crashes caused by drug drivers and people need to understand that these substances will seriously affect their ability to drive safely.’


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