Impaired driving is a massive safety risk for you and others on the road. You might think it’s safe to drive after a few drinks, but alcohol, drugs, and any substance impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely. The consequences can be disastrous, leading to severe and even fatal injuries. Here’s what you need to know about impaired driving and driver safety.

Slowed Reaction Time and Poor Coordination

Often we can visibly tell when somebody’s been drinking as they stumble and trip. Even a few drinks can affect you, making it difficult to respond quickly to unexpected situations, such as the driver in front of you slamming on the brakes or turning a corner. It dramatically increases your risk of rear-ending or colliding with a vehicle due to delayed reactions. If you make it home, simple tasks like parking your car will seem monumental. Judging the space you need to park in your garage, which is probably already tight, as 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park their cars, and 32% only have room for one vehicle, could result in you crashing your vehicle into your own home.

Poor Judgment and Decision-Making

It’s no secret that alcohol impairs judgment, leading to cringeworthy but harmless stories after a night out with friends. However, the poor decision-making that made you do something embarrassing happens when you’re behind the wheel. You make choices you wouldn’t usually, like driving above the speed limit, changing lanes frequently, slamming on the brakes, flying through traffic lights, and more.

Increased Likelihood of Accidents

Drinking and driving contribute to a staggering number of accidents yearly, killing roughly 28 people daily in the U.S. If you crash into another vehicle while driving impaired, you harm yourself and innocent drivers and passengers traveling safely. Often, these aren’t minor accidents, such as accidentally tapping the car in front of you. Since you’re more likely to slam your foot on the brakes or accelerator and struggle to steer, the collision will probably be more violent.

The Age Group Most Likely to Drive Impaired

Drivers aged 25 to 34 are most likely to drive with a high blood alcohol content, according to Insurance Navy. Many factors contribute to this, such as going to a bar without a reliable ride, drinking more than you expected, and more. However, those factors aren’t excuses and shouldn’t be treated as such. If you’re going to be drinking or taking other substances, make sure you have a reliable ride before the night begins. Ridesharing apps are reliable and available in most areas of the country, but if that’s not an option, have a friend or family member drive you there and back. Since alcohol causes impaired judgment, it’s easy to underestimate how much it’s affected you until it’s too late.

Different Types of Impaired Driving

While alcohol is one of the most common substances to cause impaired driving, certain substances or combinations of substances, whether prescription or recreational, can also cause impairment. Check your prescription medications; some may state that you shouldn’t drive after taking them. If anything makes you feel drowsy or uncoordinated, you shouldn’t drive after taking it.

Addressing and Preventing Impaired Driving

Preventing impaired driving involves several layers. Community awareness campaigns about driver safety, including school programs that start young, can reduce the problem while striving to create a responsible and accountable community. Addressing alcohol or substance abuse problems and creating resources for those seeking help is crucial.

Nobody should drive impaired. It poses a massive safety risk to everyone around you and could have potentially fatal consequences. Don’t let poor judgment after a few beers cause you to make a life-changing mistake. Know the risks, arrange a ride when you’re on a night out, don’t drive after taking certain prescription or recreational substances, and, if you’re struggling with addiction, seek help.