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Drivers don’t always accurately perceive how impaired they are

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2024 | Drunk Driving |

Drivers’ inaccurate perception of their impairment level is too often a significant factor contributing to the prevalence of driving under the influence (DUI) incidents. For a variety of reasons, many individuals underestimate how alcohol or drugs affect their driving abilities.

This underestimation can lead to an ordinarily safety-conscious individual facing DUI charges even though they “felt fine” when getting behind the wheel.

What’s going on?

Alcohol and certain drugs have a deceptive onset of impairment, affecting individuals in a gradual manner that is not always immediately noticeable. Initially, a person may feel more relaxed and confident, mistakenly interpreting these feelings as being in a better state to drive. However, these substances can progressively impair judgment, reaction times and motor coordination. By the time individuals notice their impairment, they may already be significantly under the influence.

Additionally, many people believe they have a higher tolerance for alcohol or drugs due to their experiences or consumption habits. This belief can lead to a false sense of security, with drivers assuming they can consume more before becoming impaired. However, tolerance varies widely and can be influenced by numerous factors. These include body weight, metabolic rate and even the amount of food consumed prior to drinking. As a result, one’s perceived tolerance may not accurately reflect their level of impairment.

Finally, overconfidence in one’s driving abilities and a denial of the effects of substances can be a consequential combination. This overconfidence is often coupled with a minimization of the risks associated with impaired driving, leading people to believe they can control their vehicles safely despite their impairment.

In the event that you or a loved one has misjudged their level of impairment and is now facing DUI charges as a result, know that an arrest is not the end of the road. It may be possible to successfully defend against the charges at issue. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to learn more.