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How Alcohol, Marijuana & Other Substances Affect Your Driving Abilities

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in Florida—and for good reason. These substances severely impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely and can lead to unfortunate accidents. In Florida, over 5,000 accidents occurred in 2016 because of alcohol and another 617 stemmed from driving under the influence of drugs.

If you have been injured by an impaired driver, you might receive compensation for your injuries, but you should meet with a Miami car accident attorney to analyze your case.

Alcohol and Marijuana Impairs Reflexes and Attention

Depressants like alcohol and marijuana affect the brain and slow a driver’s reaction time. This means that a driver cannot swerve or stop their vehicle when they see another motorist in their way.

Research has also confirmed that marijuana reduces a driver’s ability to focus on driving. As a result, those drivers who have taken one too many tokes engage in more lane weaving than other drivers. If the driver combines alcohol with marijuana, then lane weaving actually increases even more.

Other Drugs Increase Aggressiveness

Some drugs, like amphetamines and cocaine, are stimulants. Although stimulants might not impair reflexes, they certainly impair the driver’s judgment. While under the influence of stimulants, drivers are more likely to take risks behind the wheel and can engage in the following aggressive driving:

  • Speeding
  • Swerving
  • Tailgating
  • Passing illegally
  • Taking corners too sharply

Because of this aggressive behavior, impaired drivers their passengers and other motorists at risk of a deadly collision.

Prescription Drugs Can Contribute to Drowsiness

Driver fatigue is another contributing factor to motor vehicle accidents. Both alcohol and marijuana can make drivers drowsy, even causing some drivers to go to sleep while the vehicle is moving. A silent culprit, however, includes prescription drugs, which also contribute to driver fatigue and can increase the chances of injury.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, prescription drugs can have the following side effects that negatively impair driving:

  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Inattentiveness
  • Slowed reflexes

Among the prescription drugs that can cause problems are those prescribed for anxiety, depression, colds, and allergies. Tranquilizers and sleeping pills are also problems. Other dangerous prescription drugs include stimulants and diet pills, which can increase risky driving.

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are also a problem for many of the same reasons as prescription drugs. Also, some drugs might not have side effects when taken individually but can affect your driving ability when taken in combination.

Before beginning to take prescription drugs, talk about the effects on driving with your physician. Also mention any OTC drugs that you are taking, since they could interact negatively with prescription drugs.

Injured on the Road? We Can Help

The Miami car accident attorneys at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein LLP have helped countless injured motorists obtain compensation when an impaired driving injures them. We are experienced navigating Florida’s insurance system and can bring a lawsuit if we cannot obtain a favorable settlement for you.

For more information, and to meet with one of our Miami car accident lawyers, please call 305-371-2692 today. Initial consultations are free.