Alcohol & Drugs

Alcohol & Drugs - the facts

Your ability to drive safely is seriously affected by consuming drugs and alcohol and you risk causing serious injury or death to yourself and others if you drive under the influence. Alcohol is a leading contributor to road crashes.

The gist of it
  • Alcohol enters the body’s vital organs, including the brain, once it has been absorbed into the bloodstream.
  • This leads to slowed reactions, dulled judgement and blurred vision which affect your ability to drive. Drugs have a similar affect.
  • Driving with an excess blood alcohol limit is illegal.
  • The legal limit changes in different countries, but is uniformly zero for young and learner drivers.
  • Both recreational and prescription drugs can affect your ability to drive.

Why it's an issue - Alcohol

  • If alcohol is consumed in the evening, they can still be in your bloodstream the following day.
  • While consuming a limited amount of alcohol may be legal for some drivers, it is very difficult to monitor whether you are fit to drive because of the varying sizes of glasses, the different alcohol content for different types of drinks, and the fact that the more you drink, the less likely you are to be able to accurately assess how much alcohol you have consumed.
  • Alcohol slows reaction times, compromises judgement, reduces attention span, can cause over-confidence and risk taking, blurs vision and dulls hearing

Why it's an issue - Drugs

  • Drugs can stay in a person's system long after they have taken them.
  • Drugs have many of the same affects as alcohol depending on the type of drug. Other affects include aggressiveness, hallucinations, paranoia, fatigue, dizziness and tremors
  • Driving after taking some nonprescription medicines such as cold, cough, and allergy or sleep aids can cause impaired judgment and reaction time.

Calling the shots

  • The lowdown is clear – if you have taken drugs or consumed alcohol don’t drive, and don’t get into a car driven by somebody who has.

There are still common myths about driving under the influence, but they are easily busted by the facts.

Myth vs Fact


Time is the only thing that can sober you up. If you’ve drunk a lot, there is a high probability alcohol will still be in your system in the morning. Coffee may make you feel more awake, but it doesn’t do anything to clear the alcohol in your system.


That is a perfect example of how alcohol clouds your judgement. Drivers who are over the limit, can’t drive carefully. You may drive slowly, but you still risk causing a crash. Police are trained to spot drivers under the influence.


Alcohol enters the bloodstream. Putting food in your stomach may make you feel a little better but it will not absorb the alcohol from your blood.

Safety Checklist

Here's a few things you can do to help you avoid driving under the influence:

  1. Plan ahead. If you perceive you are at risk of not being able to drive home safely plan to Uber, taxi or take public transport.
  2. Choose a driver before the night begins so everyone’s responsibilities are clear.
  3. Don’t get shamed into getting in a car driven by someone else who is not completely sober.
  4. If you are taking prescription medication, be clear how it will affect your ability to drive. Talk to your doctor about it.
  5. Read the labels on over the counter medications and follow the advice. If it says 'do not operate heavy machinery' - that means don't drive.