'Tis the season to be merry...and responsible

Published on: 14 December 2015

'Tis the season to be merry... and responsible

As another festive season gets underway, and with it the inevitable parties, gatherings and other occasions where a few beers and wines are likely to be shared, there should be no excuses for not being responsible. Today, there are many options available to get home safely – when those options aren’t available, the responsible thing to do is not to drink if you are driving.

You may think that you can drive after having a few drinks, but are you actually aware of the ways in which alcohol affects your body? According the World Health Organisation, drinking and driving not only increases the risk of a crash, but also the likelihood of death or serious injury as well.

Alcohol and your brain

Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows down the activity in your central nervous system and brain. The degree to which you are impaired will depend on how much you consume, as well as your body weight or tolerance.

How alcohol attacks the brain

Image source: Pennsylvania State University

Alcohol and your body

Apart from the effects listed below, alcohol also alters your perception of the world – your decision-making is different when under the effect of alcohol. Given that cars have the potential to hurt not only yourself, but other road users – you should not be in control of a car when your ability to make decisions has been altered!

  • Impaired vision
  • Reduced reaction time
  • Reduced ability to focus or concentrate
  • Feeling more relaxed, which may lead to drowsiness  
  • Reduced ability to react to sensory information
  • Reduced ability to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, (e.g. changing gears while turning or watching other road traffic.)
  • Over confidence, potentially higher risk taking

Also remember that alcohol will be absorbed into your bloodstream for up to three hours after drinking your last drink.

The alternative

If you do intend to drink, make arrangements for a sober driver or another means of getting home, which does not involve getting behind the wheel. The risk of getting behind the wheel after a drink or two is just not worth it; rather use safe alternatives such as WeDrive, MiWay’s  ‘take me home’ service.

It’s the festive season: there will be plenty of great social events where you might like to let down your hair or loosen your tie - go ahead and do so, but be responsible and stay away from the car keys. It’s the best gift you can give to your family, friends and fellow road-users.