Chapter 6. Effects of Alcohol and Drugs on the Driver: Part 2

Florida Drug and Alcohol Test (TLSAE) Course: Chapter 6. Effects of Alcohol and Drugs on the Driver

Categories of Drugs and How They Affect Driving


Section 6.2. Categories of Drugs and How They Affect Driving

All categories of drugs could have an impact on the way that you operate your motor vehicle. Alcohol is a depressant; we already know that the effect of a depressant on the body and brain is an overall dulling of the senses, vision, and reaction time. Slurred speech, slow movements, and even falling asleep are some of the ways that a depressant can affect the body. Obviously a person must be awake while driving!

One might think that in order to counteract a depressant, they could take a stimulant, but this isn't true because of the multiplier effect. What calms somebody down normally might not while they are on another substance, and the strain on the heart could be fatal.

Taking stimulants while driving will give the driver a sense of fearlessness, euphoria and grandeur, leading to recklessness on the road. All stimulants (uppers) have a downside, and the driver could fall asleep or even lose consciousness.

Narcotics, including painkillers, affect the central nervous system. Narcotics could make a driver feel euphoric and have overly relaxed muscles, losing coordination and the ability to react quickly to situations that may arise when driving.

Hallucinogens and inhalants might provide the driver with false perceptions on the road, or hallucinations. The colored traffic lights at an intersection might be seen as festival or holiday decorations rather than a warning of impending danger. These drugs affect a person's perception of reality. Anyone who uses mind-altering drugs puts themselves at risk if they get behind the wheel of an automobile.

Illegal inhalants such as model airplane glue and paint thinner reduce the flow of oxygen to the brain. The driver can lose control of themselves and their vehicle. The main reason people use intoxicants is to achieve the euphoric state caused by the lack of oxygen to the brain; this is very dangerous. Any of these drugs will have a negative impact on your driving abilities, leading to possible loss of consciousness, poor vision, slow reaction time and poor judgment.

Drugs Physical Dependence Psychological Dependence Duration (Hours) Possible Effects
Depressants Moderate High 2 to 4 Slow reaction time and poor judgment





Stimulants Moderate Moderate 2 to 4 Recklessness and lack of regard for dangerous situations





Narcotics High Moderate 2 to 4 Euphoric state and overly relaxed muscles





Hallucinogens Unknown Unknown 2 to 4 Seeing things that are not there and misinterpreting things that are there

(NHTSA: http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/job185drugs/drugs_web.pdf)
(Drug Aware: http://www.drugaware.com.au/drugdriving/staysafe.aspx)




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