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How Does Alcohol Impact Driving?

The Anastopoulo Law Firm

Drunk driving remains one of the leading contributing factors in car accidents and injuries in South Carolina. Despite DUI laws that are aggressively enforced and heavy penalties, injuries caused by these types of accidents continue to cause serious and potentially life-threatening harm to drivers and their passengers. Even having just a few drinks and getting behind the wheel can increase your car accident risks. Check out the following to see exactly how doesalcohol impact driving.

Alcohol Use & Driving

According to statistics from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS), impaired driving is a factor in close to 6,000 car accidents that occur each year in our state. These accidents result in roughly 4,000 driver and passenger injuries, and as many as 200 motor vehicle deaths.

Drinking any amount of alcohol and getting behind the wheel of a car is a bad idea, and puts you and other drivers in danger. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) lists six answers to the question: how does alcohol impact driving?

  1. Reaction times: Alcohol slows your reflexes, making it harder to respond to changes in traffic, road, or weather conditions.
  2. Vision impairments: Slower eye movements and impaired peripheral sight can cause blurred vision, particularly at night when there is an increased likelihood for glare.
  3. Tracking ability: Alcohol makes it more difficult to detect the distance between you and the road, traffic signals, and other drivers.
  4. Concentration: Alcohol increases distractions and makes it harder to focus on the road and the task of driving.
  5. Comprehension: Driving under the influence impairs your ability to recognize and respond to potential dangers.
  6. Lack of coordination: A lack of eye, hand, and foot coordination makes car accidents more likely to occur.

The Impact Of Having A Few Drinks

In South Carolina, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for driving under the influence is .08 percent, but even having just a few drinks can cause significant impairments. The American Automobile Association (AAA) states that a 12-ounce beer, a 1.5 ounce shot of 80 proof liquor, and a 5-ounce glass of wine all have roughly the same alcohol content. Depending on factors such as age and body weight, the following estimates the BAC level and impairments you may experience based on the amount you drink over the course of an hour:

  • One drink: Lower inhibitions and a BAC between .01 and .03 percent.
  • Two drinks: Slower reaction times and a BAC of .04 and .05 percent.
  • Three drinks: Impaired judgment and BAC up to .07 percent.
  • Four drinks: Puts you over the legal limit, and significantly impacts driving ability.

Been In An Accident? Get Help Today

If you are involved in a car accident and suspect alcohol use is involved, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm immediately. We provide thorough accident investigations to help determine who was at fault, so you can get the compensation you need to recover. We are also prepared to answer any questions regarding your claim, from how does alcohol impact driving to discussing various legal options. To speak with a South Carolina car accident attorney about your case, call or contact us online today.


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