Background Image

Victim Impact Panel USA

Top Myths of Drinking and Driving

Know the drinking and driving facts before mistakes are made. Before getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking, know the facts. Driving under the influence is illegal and dangerous. Do not be deceived by drunk driving myths that so many people have fallen for, endangering their own life and others around them in the process. Drunk driving statistics are solid and by knowing the facts, can significantly decrease with time and knowledge; know the drinking and driving facts, sober up before driving. Don't drink and drive. Common Myths about Drinking and Driving are:

  1. MYTH: It's only the young and inexperienced drivers who are affected by alcohol.
    FACT: It is true that being an inexperienced, possibly younger, driver will increase the chances of having a wreck when alcohol consumption is involved, but by no means are young and or inexperienced drivers the only ones incapable of drinking and driving. Drinking alcohol, no matter how old you are or how long you have been driving, will affect your cognitive state of mind and debilitate your senses needed to safely drive a vehicle. Don't chance your safety based on age, sex, weight, driving experience or hair color when it comes to drinking and driving. If you drink, make the choice not to drive until your blood alcohol concentration (B.A.C) levels have dropped.
  2. MYTH: I can still be in control after drinking.
    FACT: Maybe you have driven after drinking 101 times before and feel convinced you are still in control after drinking. Even though you may not have a staggering walk or be running into walls, the fact is that after only one beer impairment begins to set in and slows your reaction time. Alcohol doesn't only affect vision and coordination, but it also alters your attention span, reaction time, judgment and not to mention the ability to multi-task – all vital parts in operating a vehicle.
  3. MYTH: If I have to, I can sober up quickly.
    FACT: No matter how much you allow yourself to feel control has been regained after drinking alcohol, simply by will, is a common misconception. From the very first drink, judgment begins to impair, reflexes relax and slow down. Drinking alcohol is what it is and only time without drinking can flush your system, allowing you to regain the senses needed to drive safely. Don't drink and drive, just wait a little bit. Use the facts to be sure you are not technically "drinking and driving."
  4. MYTH: I just need to eat and I'll be o.k. to drive.
    FACT: Being that it is never a good idea to drink on an empty stomach, having eaten with your drink(s) is still not a sure-proof defense against impaired driving. In fact, the only absolute way to be surly be safe is time. It takes about 6 hours for the body to completely purge alcohol when a B.A.C level is at the legal limit of .08. Food while drinking is good but not a fail-safe when it comes to drunk driving statistics.
  5. MYTH: Coffee with sober me up enough to drive safely.
    FACT: Coffee does not alleviate the effects of alcohol impairment in any way. The only thing coffee will do is create a wide-eyed and awake, nervous drunk person; a drunk person still in no condition to drive. Only time will wear off the effects of alcohol.
  6. MYTH: If I stick to drinking beer and not the "hard stuff," I'll be fine to drive.
    FACT: Beer is still alcohol no matter how you see the severity of the effects. One 12 oz. beer contains just as much alcohol as a 5 oz. glass of wine or a 1⁄2 oz. shot of 80-proof whisky. Drinking beer or drinking the "hard stuff" and driving still constitutes as driving "under the influence" for a reason. Judgment and basic reflex functions are degraded, don't risk it.
  7. MYTH: Bigger people are more equipped to handle alcohol so they can drink and still be able to drive safely.
    FACT: Granted, a person's physical stature does play a role in determining the rate at which alcohol's symptoms take effect. However, one must also take into consideration an individual's metabolism, when the last time that person ate and how much sleep they got leading up to drinking. These complex calculations could determine the possibility of risking one or more person's life when agreeing they are alright to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
  8. MYTH: As long as I splash cold water on my face and roll down the car window for fresh air, I'll be fine.
    FACT: Waiting it out is the only option to be "fine" to drive safely after drinking. Splashing your face with cold water and rolling down the car window feels good and may give you a sense of revitalization, but the fact is that you drank alcohol and put alcohol into your body. Neither cold water nor blowing wind will get it out of your system and prepare you to drive safely. Don't be hasty when it comes to drinking and driving, drunk driving accidents are no laughing matter. The impaired person behind the wheel of a vehicle has the same probability of crashing with his window down and he does with it up.
  9. MYTH: I'm only driving a few blocks to get home.
    FACT: The majority of car accidents happen close to home, typically between 2 and 5 miles close to home. Statistics show that only 1% of car accidents took place more than 50 miles away from the driver's home. Those are pretty tough odds to beat especially after drinking.
  10. MYTH: I won't get caught.
    FACT: Local law enforcement has increased alcohol checkpoints in recent years and the penalties for driving under the influence have become even harsher. New legislation also gives police the ability to test drivers they believe to be under the influence, for drug/alcohol impairment and charge those who do not comply, to supply a mandatory saliva, blood or urine sample. Depending on the severity of the drunk driving or drug influenced situation, consequences could include a 24 stay in the local jail, vehicle impound, fines and even sentencing to longer jail-time. If the drunk driving case was bad enough, a rehabilitation program and installed vehicle breathalyzer may be required.
Written By Janelle Talimdjioski