What is “drugged” driving?

Drugged driving, or substance impaired driving, is the detection of legal or illegal substances that impact driving ability. Poly abuse, is when a person mixes alcohol and drugs and gets behind the wheel.

How Do Drugs Affect Driving Skills?

  • Coordination:  Drugs can affect nerves and muscles, which makes steering, braking, accelerating, and manipulation of vehicle difficult.
  • Reaction time:  Drugs slow response and reaction times.
  • Judgment:  Drugs have cognitive effects that can hinder a person’s ability to assess risks and avoid potential hazards by decreasing fear and thus increasing risk-taking behavior.
  • Tracking:  Drugs inhibit a person’s ability to stay in their lane and maintain a safe distance from the car in front of them.
  • Attention:  Some drugs can make it difficult to focus and process information.
  • Perception: Since 90 percent of information processed by our brain while driving is visual, impaired vision due to drug use seriously hinders a person’s driving ability.

Bottom Line: Even small amounts of many drugs can have a measurable effect on driving ability.

The safest choice is to designate a sober driver – someone who does not have alcohol or drugs in his/her system.