Menu Close

Physical, Mental, and Emotional Effects of Drunk Driving

a person sits on a couch thinking about the effects of drunk driving

Many people probably think that only those who have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%, which is the legal BAC content limit set by all 50 states for driving under the influence (DUI), are likely to be intoxicated enough to cause a drunk driving accident. The truth is that any amount of alcohol in a person’s system can hamper their ability to drive, which could then lead to an alcohol-related vehicular accident that may injure or kill someone.

If you or a loved one struggle with alcohol addiction, the effects of drunk driving are very real possibilities. Finding an alcohol addiction program can provide the support needed to overcome a dependence on alcohol. Learn more by calling 888.450.2153.

Alcohol and Its Impact on Driving

The body absorbs alcohol into the bloodstream rather quickly but stays there for a much longer time than many people think. Regardless of the amount consumed, alcohol impacts vision, concentration, coordination, comprehension, reaction time, and the ability to track other vehicles, road signs, and other objects on the road. It’s typical for people who drive with any amount of alcohol in their system to dismiss its effects and claim they can shake the buzz off with a strong cup of coffee or a cold shower.

Alcohol, however, doesn’t work that way. It needs time to exit the body. If you insist on driving immediately after consuming alcohol, the likelihood of getting pulled over for a DUI or getting involved in a car crash will be high.

DUIs: The Legal Penalties of Drunk Driving

Despite numerous efforts to curb it, drunk driving remains a major contributor to the number of alcohol-related injuries and deaths worldwide. In the United States, 28 people die every day in car crashes involving people who are driving under the influence. At more than $44 billion, the financial cost of vehicular accidents caused by drunk driving is utterly staggering.

While it’s easy to calculate the economic cost of drunk driving accidents, many people tend to overlook the fact that drunk driving accidents also exact a tremendous physical, psychological, and emotional toll on those who survive. Those involved may be able away from the crash, but they are often left with scars—both literal and figurative—that they will bear for the rest of their lives.

How Drunk Driving Affects Those Involved

Many drunk driving accident survivors don’t walk away with just scrapes and light bruises. Take the case of Travis, a young man from Waco, Texas, who was a passenger in a car driven by a drunk driver that crashed in 2010. He was in a coma for four months with a traumatic brain injury sustained in the accident. Two years later, he was able to walk with assistance, but he remains unable to talk or eat.

Far too many people have stories similar to Travis’s. Because of the injuries they sustained in drunk driving accidents, their lives were upended. They end up with costly medical bills, yet are still unable to return to work or simply live a normal life. They also suffer a lot of pain—pain that often lasts a lifetime.

Drunk Driving’s Emotional Effects

The effects of drunk driving aren’t just skin-deep. A drunk driving accident is a terrifying event that often leads to physical harm and, in many cases, loss of life. When people go through such an experience and survive, they run the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Drunk driving crash survivors who have PTSD often experience flashbacks of what happened at the crash scene, reliving the ordeal that has altered their lives forever. These unpleasant memories often emerge when they ride or drive a car, when they see images that remind them of the accident, or even when reading about similar incidents in the paper or on the internet.

Symptoms of PTSD

There are three main types of PTSD symptoms:

  • Flashbacks and nightmares that make them relive the trauma
  • Avoiding places, people, and activities that remind them of their horrible experience
  • Being emotionally numb
  • Jumpiness, irritability, quickness to anger, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, and other signs of increased arousal

PTSD symptoms may vary from person to person. Some experience them almost immediately after their traumatic ordeal. Others take months or even years before symptoms of PTSD begin to manifest.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Northpoint Washington

Drunk driving is an entirely preventable problem, and one of the most effective ways to stop it is for those with alcohol addiction to receive proper treatment.

At Northpoint Washington, we understand how alcohol impacts a person’s life and that of those they love. We provide personalized alcohol addiction treatment plans tailored to meet your specific needs and help you take back control of your life. Don’t let you or a loved one cause the effects of drunk driving. Contact us today at 888.450.2153.