Impaired Driving

Driving a car, in fact, is a dance or playing a musical instrument. At first, a person practices necessary movements for second-nature; later, hands and feet do everything themselves on the road.

How do the drugs used by the person influence the driver’s qualities? Drugs influence many skills necessary for safe driving, such as vigilance, concentration, coordination, and reaction time. Under the influence of alcohol, the driver is not able to perceive the sizes of objects in a proper way. The only desire is to drive recklessly. The distance between cars is often not judged correctly. A bad reaction to a red light signal is usually also observed. The attention dissipates; the coordination worsens. People drive vehicles too sharply and energetically in a very strong state of drugs intoxication; therefore, a driver notices neither people, nor cars.

The scientists from the University of Toronto, Canada, tried to reveal the connection between the use of drugs by the drivers and the risk of the road accidents. They carried out the metaanalysis of the results of nine epidemiological researches.

“Recent figures from the 2004 Canadian Addictions Survey suggest that 4% of the population have driven under the influence of cannabis in the past year, up from 1.5% in 2003, with substantially higher rates among young people. Moreover, drugs other than alcohol have increasingly been detected in the bodily fluids of hospitalized and fatally injured drivers”.

It became clear that drivers whose drug test appeared to be positive and those who admitted car driving within three hours after drugs usage became the participants of the road accidents twice more often than others do. There were evidences reported that the probability of the road accidents is in direct proportion to the concentration of metabolites of drugs in urine and frequency of the drugs abuse cases.

According to the findings of the scientists, 28% of mortally wounded drivers and 11% of all drivers were drug users. Eight of nine researches showed that the drivers, who used to take drugs, had accidents more often than the other participants of the road traffic. The physicians and policemen take necessary measures for lowering the rates of deaths due to the usage of drugs before driving.

Likewise, if a driver experiences fatigue, traffic safety level essentially decreases – fatigue negatively influences practically all main functions of a person’s perception, and also some psychophysiological characteristics. First of all, the visual perception suffers; a tired driver sees the remote or small objects on the road worse. Moreover, he/she cannot precisely define the distance to the objects or estimate the speed of the other traffic participants. Moreover, fatigue negatively influences his or her organization: a tired person switches attention from one object to another more slowly. A tired driver is not able to concentrate his or her attention on the separate objects; he reacts to the sudden changes of a road situation more slowly, as well.

“Working long hours pose threats both to drivers and to the public because it increases drivers’ vulnerability to fatigue and to having accidents”.

Fatigue usually develops during long trips and has possible consequences after 4-5 hours of driving. Fatigue starts to be felt obviously in a couple of hours, and the drivers, who drive more than 9 hours, support their physical tone exclusively by own strong-willed efforts. According to the statistics, more than 50% of all road accidents are connected with overstrain and fatigue in a varying degree.

Moreover, emotions play a very important role in safe driving. Brainwork constitutes the main part of the driving process. The psychological state of mind of a person has an exceptional influence on the quality of driving. My friend George is a skilled driver with a 10-years experience; however, he was injured seriously in a car accident about a year ago. He did not notice the car that was moving opposite to him, as he was very upset after a quarrel with his girlfriend. This situation proves that a driver in a bad mood can drive a car worse than a beginner.

“Many researchers have noted that driving behaviour is the most significant aspect of driving which needs to be dealt with to further reduce fatalities, risk and infringements. The RTA publication “Driving with Mind not Muscle” focuses on the need for more training, which involves thinking and discussion about road safety issues in order to impact on the behaviour of the driver”.

It means that a driver should have no emotions, neither positive nor negative. The logic is simple: a person cannot think clearly until there are emotions in his or her head. Therefore, a person has no right to drive a car until he or she cannot think properly. Therefore, it is extremely important to learn to control own emotions. In other words, it is necessary not to allow them to capture one’s mind. Cool head is especially important in critical situations.

Emotional and hot-tempered drivers are much more inclined to the dangerous actions, which raise fuel consumption through sharp accelerations, scrolling, and wheels spin. Controlling the emotional sphere is one of the most difficult tasks. It is the most difficult one because a driver should keep him/herself cool under any circumstances. If the thoughts appear due to the will of a reason, the emotions jump out absolutely involuntarily.

The secret of good driving is in the fact that there are no men or women in the road traffic. While driving a car, emotional people should forget who he or she is. A person on the road should simply be a responsible driver, as health and lives of other people are in his or her hands.