I haven’t had much to drink. I can hold my liquor. I can still drive safely. That’s what a lot of people say right before they get behind the wheel of a car. Unfortunately, a lot of them end up dead, taking innocent victims along with them.
More people are likely to die in alcohol-related traffic crashes during the holidays than any other time of year. Statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) show that during Christmas and New Year’s, the death rate for alcohol-related crashes is two to three times higher than other times of the year.
Despite all the efforts at public awareness of the hazards of drinking and driving, people still try to convince themselves that they’re firmly in control.
Alcohol works fast!
According to the NIAAA, our decision-making abilities are diminished long before signs of intoxication are noticeable. At first, alcohol acts as a stimulant, so it’s easy to be fooled by the increased energy, but our inhibitions soon relax. Reaction time and the ability to make safe judgements quickly become impaired.
Additional drinks lead to balance issues, sluggishness, and sleepiness. The effects of alcohol last long after the last sip is consumed, as alcohol in the stomach and intestines continues to enter the bloodstream.
Won’t strong coffee help sober you up?
No! Caffeine helps with drowsiness, but is of no use with coordination or decision-making capabilities. So how does one sober up? Time. The body needs time to metabolize the alcohol and a cup of coffee cannot speed up that process.
Plan ahead: arrange transportation or designate a driver.
Don’t underestimate the power of alcohol. Make plans — before the party — to get home safely. Remember that a designated driver is someone who hasn’t had any alcohol, not simply the person in your group who drank the least.
Story/Photo Source: PR Newswire / National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health