The dangers of drink-driving and drug-driving

The dangers of drink-driving and drug-driving

One of the many risks to life that addicts face on a daily basis is an increased chance of motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, drink-driving is one of the biggest killers on our roads and according to the road safety charity Brake, in the UK, more than 200 people die every year in a drink-drive related crash. But it’s not just alcohol which affects our driving. Driving under the influence of drugs is also dangerous.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “drugged driving puts the driver, passengers, and others who share the road at risk. In 2016, almost 12 million people aged 16 or older reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs, including marijuana. After alcohol, marijuana is the drug most often linked to impaired driving. Research studies have shown the negative effects of marijuana on drivers, including an increase in lane weaving, poor reaction time, and altered attention to the road.”

When we’re in the grip of an addiction, we’ll do anything to protect that illness and will take risks every day to keep our secret hidden and make sure we get our fix. One of those major risks is driving under the influence. If you find yourself routinely drinking when drunk or on drugs, you may have a problem, and you should seek help. If you’re not ready to seek help yet, please commit to not driving at the very least!

Let’s look at the risks and the advice from road safety experts.

Why Drink-Driving is so dangerous

The road safety charity Brake has an excellent article all about drink-driving, with lots of interesting facts about the risks, the law, the limits and the penalties. In it, they share the fact that even half a pint of lager affects reaction times, judgement and co-ordination. This is made even more dangerous by the false sense of confidence that drinking alcohol gives us, which increases the likelihood of taking risks on the road and the fact that even if we feel sober, we may not be safe to drive.

The advice is to not drink at all if you’re going to drive, as it’s very difficult to calculate what amount will impact your driving. Functioning alcoholics will have a higher perceived tolerance to alcohol and may seem fine, but this does not mean that you should drive.

These facts really speak for themselves –

  • You are 6x more likely to be involved in a fatal crash, if you have 50-80 mg alcohol per 100ml blood, compared to 0ml
  • You are 3x more likely to die on the roads, if you have 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood, compared to 0ml
  • You are 46% more likely to be at fault in road collisions, if you have 10mg alcohol per 100ml, compared to 0ml

Please don’t put yourself and others at risk by drinking and driving! It’s just one of the many ways that alcohol addiction causes damage and increases our likelihood of doing ourselves and others harm. You can find out more about alcohol addiction and the damage it can cause in our previous blog article.

If you are concerned about your drinking, or a family member, we have some excellent articles here for you to read:

We’re also happy to answer your questions and make recommendations for how to get the help you need. Our private rehabilitation centre is a safe space to detox and start to think clearly without the fog of alcohol. Once you’re sober, we help you through therapy and a wide range of addiction treatment options to help you beat your addiction and lead a happy and full life without alcohol.

Why Drug-Driving is so dangerous

Drink-driving has been a hot topic and the dangers well-publicised for many years, but there’s less talk about the dangers of driving while on drugs. Nonetheless, drug-driving is a factor in more than 1 in 20 fatal crashes in the UK and so it’s really important to understand the risks, and not drive if you’re on drugs. Brake has a great page explaining all the different aspects of drug-driving, which we’d very much recommend reading, especially if you take drugs regularly, or are addicted to drugs.

Of course, there are lots of different types of drugs which affect our bodies differently, but the vast majority of illegal drugs will impair your ability to drive. For example, cannabis and opiates slows reactions and affects concentration and co-ordination. Cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines can cause erratic behaviour and increased risk taking on the roads. Other drugs can cause hallucinations, confusion and agitation and you never want to be experiencing any of these things when you are behind the wheel.

Remember that legal drugs can also impact our driving, so check the small-print to make sure what you are taking is safe to use while driving.

These facts really speak for themselves –

  • You are 2x more at risk of a fatal or serious injury crash, when driving on cannabis and if you combine that with alcohol, that increases to 16 x!
  • You are 2-10x more at risk of a fatal or serious injury crash when driving on cocaine or opiates
  • You are 5-30x more at risk of a fatal or serious injury crash when driving on amphetamines

That’s why it is illegal to drive if you’re impaired by drugs in any way and the penalties can be severe. These include driving bans, a criminal record, fines and up to 6 months in prison. If you cause death by dangerous driving while taking drugs, you could get life in prison.

Please don’t take the risk! Do not get behind the wheel if you’ve taken drugs under any circumstance.

If you’re regularly drug-driving, you could have a problem. Read our article on the signs that someone is addicted to drugs to identify whether you or your loved one needs help.  We also have information on how to stop taking drugs and are here to help you beat your addiction once and for all. Please don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Our drug rehab centre in Spain offers a range of drug counselling and addiction treatment programs tailored to your needs. We can support you through a drug detox prescribed by a Private GP and teach you how to stop taking drugs when you return home. Our inpatient rehabilitation centre is a safe place for you to break away from your drug use, with qualified therapists and kind, patient staff members that know what you’re going through. Please get in touch and let us get you though this and teach you how to live a healthy life without drugs.