Alcohol is the most popular drug in the country. Many respectable members of society enjoy it regularly, but abusing alcohol can have some very serious consequences. It causes long term damage to your health, ruin relationships, and lead to serious accidents. It is so dangerous that every state in the country has made it illegal to drive while intoxicated, and for good reason.
What Alcohol Does to Your Brain
Alcohol temporarily changes your brain chemistry. The neurotransmitters responsible for carrying the information you use to make decision are slowed down. This impacts you physiologically, mentally, and emotionally. Your ability to control your muscles and your thought processes is reduced. This is why being drunk cause you to stumble around clumsily. It is also why you are unable to focus, evaluate new information, control your emotions.
To add to this, alcohol also increases the amount of dopamine in your brain. This chemical is responsible for feelings of euphoria. While you are drunk, your brain is tricked into believing that it is enjoying the sensations. This is why so many people drink alcohol in the first place, but the momentary high also tends to encourage a false sense of confidence in your impaired abilities.
Driving While Drunk
Operating a vehicle while you are experiencing all of those effects is dangerous and stupid. With your slower reaction times, you are unable to respond to sudden changes in road conditions. The muscles in your eyes are relaxed making it difficult to focus your vision. You do not evaluate new information you receive as you drive. Signs, markings on the road, and other vehicles are more confusing to you. You lose the ability to multitask making lane changes hazardous. Alcohol induces drowsiness making it more likely that you will fall asleep behind the wheel. You also have less of an ability to distinguish your position, and you are more inclined to make reckless choices.
Your Blood Alcohol Content
In California, a blood alcohol content higher than .08 percent is considered legally intoxicated. You are at an increased risk of causing a serious accident and are prohibited from driving. If you are caught driving drunk, you will face stiff penalties including fines, loss of your driving privileges, and jail time. In extreme circumstances, such as when you have caused a fatal accident, you may even be charged with manslaughter.
Your blood alcohol content continues to rise even after you have stopped drinking, and the effects may not wear off for several hours. On average, your liver can process about one drink per hour. Drinking coffee, taking a cold shower, or getting fresh air does not reduce your level of intoxication. These things only mask the symptoms.
It is best to avoid driving after having any alcohol. Plan your evenings out, and designate a driver. If you do end up having a few drinks, limit your alcohol consumption and stop after one or two drinks. Keep an eye on the clock and stop drinking long before you ever need to drive. Your personal safety, the safety of others, and your future depend on it.