INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL ON DRIVING
Every year thousands of car accidents occur in Cameroon. These accidents usually have devastating effects as they sometimes cause death and renders some victims paralyzed and helpless.The increasing number of serious road accidents in Cameroon are caused by drunken driving.
Alcohol is a very strong depressant drug which can possibly slow down the activity of the central nervous system, including the brain. Drinking alcohol can have a profound effect on driving skills. This is so because drivers use their hands, eyes and feet controlled by their brains to control a vehicle.
Safe driving requires alertness as well as the ability to make quick decisions in rapidly changing situations.Although a person who has been drinking alcohol may think that if they are careful they will be able to drive safely, the alcohol may have affected their view and experience of reality. Their actions and responses may be quite different to what is actually needed and they may be unaware of how much their driving skills have been affected.
Alcohol can have a negative effect on any of the following skills which may result to car accidents:
Vision: Alcohol can alter eye movements and visual perceptions thereby resulting to blurred or impaired vision which could possibly result to car accidents, especially car collision.
Tracking: The ability to judge a car's position on the road, the location of other vehicles, center line and other road signs can be possibly decreased by the influence of alcohol.
Concerntration: Alcohol may reduce concerntration, attention and vigilance. It therefore makes it impossible or difficult to perform several task simultaneously. For instance, keeping in the lane and in the right direction while concerntrating on other traffic rules.
Comprehension: Alcohol can reduce the ability to make rational decisions thereby resulting to accidents while driving.
Coordination: Alcohol can reduce coordination of certain body parts such as eyes, hands and foot. Consumers may feel more relaxed and drowsy and possibly fall asleep at the wheel.
Reaction Time: Alcohol can slow reflexes, which can decrease the ability to react swiftly to changing situations. This is due to the fact that alcohol brings about difficulty in understanding sensory information.
In order to drive safely, the best option is for individuals not to consume alcohol at all prior to driving. However, if an individual decides to drink, it is important to keep track of how much quantity of alcohol he or she have consumed. Some people may need to drink less to keep their blood alcohol concerntration moderate and drive safely.
Some of the ways to limit drinking and subsequently alcohol before driving are as follows:
- It is important to start with a non- alcoholic drink and have a non-alcoholic drink every second or third drink.
- It is necessary to avoid topping up your glass as it makes it difficult keeping an accurate track of how much alcohol one has consumed.
- Consume more of low alcoholic drinks and avoid mixed drinks such as coctails which makes it difficult to tell how much alcohol they contain.
- Avoid drinking in shots in order to avaoid the pressure of keeping up with your friends.
Finally, sip drinks and avoid foods such as salty snacks which increases thirst.