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The most common sources of impairment while driving

Whether you live in the area, come for the beaches or visit for some other reason, Fort Walton Beach attracts a lot of people. Not all of them are considering your safety or even their own safety. Instead, they are driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both.

Since impaired drivers still present a substantial risk to everyone on the road, authorities continue to gather data on the subject in order to try to find ways to reduce or eliminate their numbers. What they have determined is that there are common substances leading to impaired driving and the accidents it causes.

Marijuana use

Legal or not, people have used marijuana for generations. The odd thing is that drivers high on marijuana tend to be more careful and drive slower. However, that doesn't mean they are safe drivers. Driving high tends to cause drivers to have difficulty remaining in their lane, tracking objects and paying attention.

Their ability to multi-task diminishes and increases the risk of causing a crash by at least a factor of two. In fact, research indicates that the more THC in a person's blood, the higher the risk of causing a motor vehicle accident.

Alcohol use

The evidence regarding how alcohol compromises an individual's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is vast. The more alcohol consumed, the less likely you are to maintain focus, exercise good judgment and otherwise drive safely. At a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08, which is Florida's legal limit, you can expect to experience the following dangerous effects:

  • Inability to regulate driving speed
  • Blurry vision and slurred speech
  • Inability to recognize changes in road and traffic conditions
  • Inability to detect danger
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Reduction of reaction time
  • Reduction of control of the vehicle

Encountering a drunk driver under these conditions is a recipe for disaster.

Prescription and over-the-counter drug use

One type of impairment that appears to be growing is the use of OTC and prescription drugs that reduce the ability to safely drive. People tend to think that because these medications are legal, they are safe to use even when they drive. Sadly, that thought could result in a serious or deadly accident. Your fellow drivers are receiving prescriptions for drugs that affect their wakefulness, attention, behavior and sleep. Like you, they trust that their doctors would not prescribe them if they were dangerous.

Too many people fail to take the warnings on both prescription and OTC medications seriously. They get behind the wheel after taking their medications despite experiencing fatigue, sensitivity to light, loss of sleep, headaches, dizziness and the inability to concentrate. Experiencing one or more of these effects breaks a driver's concentration and focus, which increases the odds of causing an accident.

The bottom line

You have no way of knowing whether the driver next to you is impaired or by what. All you can do is follow the rules of road the best you can, but it may not be enough. If the other driver causes an accident in which you suffer serious injuries, you may pursue compensation for the inevitable financial losses you will sustain.

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Our legal team consists of attorney Wm. Dennis Brannon and his son C. Paul Brannon. We work together as a father and son team to provide our clients with exceptional service and solutions in motor vehicle accident claims and other personal injury matters.

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