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How does alcohol affect driving ability?

Many Pennsylvanians partake in the occasional alcoholic beverage. Though many individuals may think that they can consume one drink and still be fine to drive, as the public safety message has told us time and time again, buzzed driving is drunk driving. In fact, even having a relatively small amount of alcohol in one's system can affect his or her ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. When this impairment results in a car accident, victims can be left with serious injuries and significant economic and noneconomic damages.

So how does alcohol affect an individual's ability to drive safely? First, with as little of a blood-alcohol concentration of .02 percent, an individual's judgement can be reduced. Second, alcohol consumption affects a driver's ability to concentrate. This means that he or she may have trouble focusing on multiple things, such as vehicle speed, the vehicle's position in the lane, and obeying traffic signals.

Third, comprehension can be diminished while under the influence of alcohol. A motorists who has been drinking may be unable to quickly and accurately interpret road signs, traffic signals, and emergency situations. Oftentimes, this means that an impaired driver runs a stop sign or red light, putting others in harm's way.

There are multiple other areas where alcohol can have a negative impact. A driver may struggle with his or her coordination, reaction time can be severely diminished, and an intoxicated driver's vision and hearing can be lessened. All of these factors, which may all present themselves at the same time, create an extremely dangerous situation.

Unfortunately, far too many Pennsylvanians are injured by these drunk drivers. Their resulting harm can be physical, emotional, and financial in nature. In an attempt to recover their damages, these individuals may want to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. Success on such a claim may bring a victim much needed compensation to help cover his or her losses, which may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Source: UTSA, "How Alcohol Can Affect Safe Driving Skills," accessed on Nov. 6, 2016

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