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Sunday, 8 June 2014

How alcohol affects driving

Alcohol is one of the most important factors in accident causation while driving. It is involved in over 25% of all car crashes in the US and a number of European countries. Most accidents occur with young male drivers. They are inexperienced and generally overestimate their driving skills and underestimate the effects of alcohol. An additional problem is that people under 20 often don’t ‘feel’ the effects of alcohol which causes them to drink much more than others.

The effects of alcohol on driving behaviour can be summarized as

- Alcohol affects skills required for safe driving and results in poorer steering control and choice of higher driving speeds

- Young drivers are often not aware of the dangerous effects of alcohol on driving performance

- Because of this, they don't compensate for the negative effects by driving more carefully, or by a lower speed choice or by investing more effort in the driving task.

This lack of awareness and of compensation results in a dramatically increased accident risk.

Participating in a simulation of the effects of alcohol on driving performance in a driving simulator can be an eye opener for this group. I hope this results fewer DUI accidents in young drivers.

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