Drugs and Driving

How do Drugs Interfere with driving skills?

In many of the same ways as alcohol does. For example, some studies show that marijuana may impair:

Coordination. Marijuana interferes with muscle coordination. This could affect the driver's ability to maneuver the vehicle quickly and accurately, when necessary.

Vision. Drivers who use marijuana have trouble adjusting to the glare of oncoming headlights and may experience double vision.

Reasoning. Marijuana users think they're in complete control and perfectly capable of driving - but they're not!

Tracking Ability. This essential skill, which involves the ability to follow a moving object with your eyes is significantly impaired by marijuana use.

Danger Isn't Always Obvious The effects of marijuana may last for several hours after the feeling of being "high" passes. Cocaine use may cause lapses in concentration and attention.

Other Drugs Affect Driving Ability, Too!

These are contained in many nonprescription cold remedies, cough medicines, allergy preparations, hay fever medications and decongestants. Antihistamines may cause drowsiness, which can affect driving ability.

Tranquilizers. Most tranquilizers are prescribed to relieve tension and anxiety. They may also: Cloud judgment, Slow reflexes, hamper eye-hand coordination, and slow brain activity. Other sedative-hypnotics such as sleeping pills and barbiturates may produce the same effects which can last up to 14 hours.

Stimulants. Generally, these drugs make people more alert, but only for a short time. Later they may cause: Nervousness, dizziness, loss of concentration, and visual problems. Amphetamines are stimulants that help relieve depression and control appetite -- may cause drivers to overestimate abilities. This may lead to taking unnecessary chances on the road.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, about yourself, or someone you know, then there may be a problem with alcohol. For more information, please read the page about The Signs of Trouble for people who drink.

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The purpose of this information.

This information was published as an experiment in publishing on the WWW. While learning how to publish on the WWW, I needed something that I felt was of some value. When I was attending a local university, I assembled this information for use as a presentation to classes of undergraduate students during Substance Abuse Awareness Week. While I do believe that this information is accurate, I make no representation as to the accuracy of this information, use it with caution. If in doubt as to the application of this information to you or someone you know, contact a medical or mental health professional.

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