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How alcohol affects driving ability

You may remember the first time you got behind the wheel of a car as a teenager. It was a thrilling moment, and you may have marveled at your ability to control that machine with so little effort. Pulling too hard on the steering wheel took the car in a direction you did not intend. Too much pressure on the accelerator and the vehicle seemed to leap out from under you.

By now, you have learned how to control your vehicle and can probably do so without much thought. However, this may not be true of someone who has consumed even a small amount of alcohol. Drivers who chose to get behind the wheel after drinking place you and your loved ones in danger.

How alcohol affects your body

Once alcohol hits your bloodstream, which it does quickly, it begins to affect your central nervous system. Although the laws in most states prohibit driving after your blood alcohol content reaches .08, statistics show that over 2,000 people die annually in accidents where a driver's BAC was .07 or lower.

Measuring the effects of alcohol is not easy because each person's reaction to alcohol is different. Your size, sex, history of drinking and amount of food you have recently eaten may all affect the way alcohol absorbs into your system. However, some of the general effects of drinking include the following:

  • You may begin to feel relaxed and sense your mood changing at .02 BAC.
  • You are likely to lose your inhibitions, some small motor control and overall alertness at .05 BAC.
  • Once you reach the legal limit of .08, you have already experienced difficulty with speech, balance and coordination. You may also lose your ability to understand when you are in a dangerous situation or control your own behavior.
  • With a BAC higher than .08, your reaction time, muscle coordination and thinking processes deteriorate. You may not even be able to remain focused on the fact that you are driving a vehicle.

Understanding these risks, you would hope that other Colorado drivers would take as much caution to avoid driving when they know they will be drinking. There are few people who are unaware of safe alternatives to drunk driving, such as appointing a designated driver, calling a taxi, using ride-sharing or even staying put. When drivers ignore these precautions and you suffer as a result, you have every right to seek justice and remuneration for your losses.

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