Drivers Ed: module 6

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Ethyl alcohol
Ethyl alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug in the United States.
Use of alcohol or other drugs adversely affects driving ability. Taking more than one drug at a time is particularly dangerous since each can add significantly to the impact of the other, especially when one of the drugs is alcohol.
Influence of parents
Influence of parents

Negative examples or even supporting teenage drinking by family members affect likelihood of drinking at young age.
There are parents who think that allowing children to drink at home will keep them out of trouble. A recent study showed that children allowed by parents to drink at home, drink more compared to children not allowed to drink.
Sociological factors
Sociological factors

Where you live can affect your attitude toward drinking, smoking, and drug use. An interesting study shows that, although students may choose their peer group, parents choose the community. This has its own effect. Neighborhood norms established by adult neighbors shape teenage behavior in the areas of smoking, drinking, and marijuana use.
Anxiety and frustration
Anxiety and frustration

Worries about school, athletics, dating, jobs, family, etc., are all a part of growing up. More serious issues involving sex, self-esteem, and abuse exist as well. If these worries and pressures become too much, and a young person has no one to turn to, they might turn to alcohol or drugs to seek relief. Unfortunately, the relief is short-lived and often creates problems worse than the ones the person was trying to escape.
Just out for a good time
Just out for a good time

Drinking goes hand in hand with partying for some teenagers. Getting drunk just for the fun of it, being social, testing how much one can drink, and drinking to be more outgoing are some common reasons teens drink, even if they aren't always plainly stated.
The issue is complex: advertising, peer pressure, changing attitudes, and parental influence can all have a role. However, any of these attitudes—whether you're just curious to try, or already drink—can lead to serious trouble.
Alcohol changes your sense of judgment
Alcohol changes your sense of judgment

Your sense of speed, distance, and depth perception change drastically when you drink. An impaired driver is usually unable to sense the distance between cars and the space needed to escape a collision. People who drive under the influence engage in risky behavior. They often do not have an accurate sense of speed.
Alcohol slows reaction time
Alcohol slows reaction time

Drinking alcohol slows your reflexes and changes your hand-eye coordination. When a driver is unable to react quickly and accurately, everyone on the road is in danger. Alcohol slows your cognition and ability to make decisions. This includes the ability to perceive danger and react quickly.
Alcohol can affect your vision
Alcohol can affect your vision

Drivers rely on good vision to operate a motor vehicle. You must have good peripheral and night vision if you want to drive. Regular eye function also changes under the influence of alcohol.

When you drink your vision will be affected—whether you are looking straight ahead, attempting to drive in the dark, or sensing objects to the side. This is because alcohol slows the eye's

Pupil movement.
Rapid eye movement,
And focus ability.
Car collisions are the number one killer of teens in the U.S.
Car collisions are the number one killer of teens in the U.S.

Driving means freedom and independence—you no longer have to rely on your parents or friends for a ride. However, this freedom could all go away in a second. Combining alcohol or drugs and driving increases traffic collision risks and increases your chances of being seriously injured or killed.
Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL)
What is Blood/Breath Alcohol Level (BAL)? When you drink alcohol, it filters through your liver and is absorbed into your blood stream. The alcohol level is the ratio between alcohol and blood. For example: a 0.08% BAL means that there are eight drops of alcohol for every 9,992 drops of blood in your body.
Here are some physiological (body-related) factors:
Here are some physiological (body-related) factors:

The size of a person's body: The more blood you have, the more alcohol you will be able to ingest before the effects become visible. In this case, a larger person will generally have a lower BAL than a smaller person if drinking the same amount of alcohol. However, a higher body weight due to fat may not be helpful. This is because alcohol will not dissolve in fatty tissue.

The amount of alcohol in a drink: The more alcohol in a drink and the more drinks consumed during a given time period, the higher the BAL.

Here are some physiological (body-related) factors:

The amount of time the user engages in drinking: If a user drinks quickly, his or her BAL will be higher because the alcohol has less time to break down. If a user drinks at a much slower rate, the BAL will be lower.

The amount of food that a person eats: Be aware that food will not absorb or dilute alcohol in your body. However, eating food first may coat the stomach lining and slow the absorption of what you drink—but this only lasts for a short time. Any alcohol you drink will eventually enter your blood.

The gender of the person drinking: Women do not process alcohol as well as men. This is in part due to weight; women weigh less on average. Women's bodies also produce less alcohol dehydrogenase, the enzyme which breaks down alcohol.
How Drinking Affects Your Brain
How Drinking Affects Your Brain

Within minutes of the first drink, the brain's ability to function normally can rapidly diminish. Alcohol absorbed into the blood stream is carried to the brain, which is significant because the brain uses more blood than any other part of your body.
How Drinking Affects Your Stomach/Intestines
How Drinking Affects Your Stomach/Intestines

About 5% of alcohol consumed is absorbed in the mouth and throat. The other 95% is then absorbed within the digestive system. Alcohol has the ability to irritate your stomach lining and intestines; this can lead to vomiting which also increases blood flow to the stomach and intestines. Secretions of these organs is also increased (especially stomach acid secretion). Excessive consumption of alcohol may cause bleeding in the stomach.
How Drinking Affects Your Liver
How Drinking Affects Your Liver

The liver's function is to remove poisons (including alcohol) from the body. It works by creating substances that fight infections and help blood clotting. Your liver also detoxifies many substances in the blood. Alcohol may cause illnesses like alcoholic hepatitis (inflammation) or cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver.
How Drinking Affects Your Blood
How Drinking Affects Your Blood

Alcohol also causes your red blood cells to clump together, which clogs up your blood vessels. Your tissues are deprived of oxygen and may result in cell death. Here are some other ways alcohol effects your blood:

You may become anemic.
You may have reduced red and white blood counts, which in turn lowers your resistance to infection.
SOME FACTS ABOUT DRUGS AND DRIVING:
SOME FACTS ABOUT DRUGS AND DRIVING:

Most drugs taken for headaches, colds, hay fever, allergies, or stress are sedatives. They can make you drowsy and impair your driving abilities.
Any drug can make driving unsafe. Prescription medications used in combination with alcohol can be dangerous.
Drivers should always ask doctors or pharmacists how prescription medications may affect driving.
Many drugs have unexpected effects when combined with drinking.
Some drugs (pep pills, "uppers," and diet pills) may make a driver more alert for a short time. However, known side effects may include nervousness, dizziness, and lack of concentration. These drugs can also impair vision.
Using readily available drugs like cough syrups (which usually contain alcohol) while driving can be considered driving under the influence.
Narcotics
Narcotics (a category that includes pain killers like codeine or Demerol) can cause drowsiness, lethargy, poor coordination, and a sense of well-being. All of these effects impair driving. Sedative-hypnotic drugs, including barbiturates, are powerful depressants prescribed to calm people down or help them sleep. Remember that a sleepy or sedated driver is unsafe.
Marijuana
Marijuana

Marijuana is the second most common drug found in the bodies of collision victims (alcohol being the first). Marijuana is not harmless. This drug is considered a mild hallucinogen and often affects user perception.

Why are teens attracted to marijuana?

Young people may start smoking marijuana for a number of reasons. Teens often start using because it is easy to get, cheap, or used by other family members. Most users are introduced to the drug by friends who use.

The effects of marijuana:

1. Reaction time is often slower. This gives the driver less time to react to and avoid hazards.
2. Drivers often fail to recognize traffic signs, signals, and pavement markings.
3. Marijuana use introduces a passive mood. Users show increased tendency to drive at slower speeds,which can impede traffic flow.
4. Users' attention spans are limited. Concentrating on several things at once becomes more difficult.
5. The ability to sense time and distance relationships is lessened. This causes difficulty in judging adequate passing, following, and stopping distances.
6. Pupils respond to light slowly. Therefore, you will not be able to adjust properly to changes in light or darkness.
Your license will be suspended for a period of one year if you are found guilty of marijuana possession.
Stimulants
Stimulants (amphetamines, cocaine, and "pep"pills)
Cocaine (a stimulant) can produce extreme mood swings: from feelings of euphoria to severe depression and violent hallucinations. Side effects include a sluggish recovery and blurred vision. Both affect perception and considerably reduce a person's ability to drive safely.
Stimulants like speed, methamphetamines, and crack can give users a false sense of well-being, but along with that feeling users experience trouble concentrating, impatience, aggressiveness, and chronic paranoia. These drugs are illegal and their effects can lead to erratic behavior and dangerous driving situations.
Heroin
Heroin

Heroin is an extremely addictive drug derived from morphine, which comes from the opium poppy. After a brief euphoria, the user goes "on the nod," which is both a wakeful and drowsy state. A user's capacity to think critically gets clouded because heroin triggers depression of the central nervous system. Other effects include slowed and slurred speech, sluggish movement, constricted pupils, droopy eyelids, impaired night vision, constipation, and vomiting.
Using heroin can slow a driver's reaction time, cause visual distortions, and impair simple motor skills. In severe cases, heroin causes stupor, coma, and death.
Hallucinogens
Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens like LSD (acid), mescaline, PCP (angel dust), and peyote trigger visual, auditory hallucinations that impair your judgment and severely distort your ability to perceive danger. These drugs can create a false sense of super strength and invulnerability, often resulting in aggressive behavior.
Here are a few ways to avoid driving while intoxicated:
Here are a few ways to avoid driving while intoxicated:

Abstain from drinking alcohol

Use public transportation

Appoint a designated driver

Stay where you are until sober

Drink responsibly at home

Encourage friends to stay overnight if you think they are impaired

Let someone sober drive the car for you
You should watch out for drivers that exhibit the following tendencies:
You should watch out for drivers that exhibit the following tendencies:

Driving faster than conditions allow

Sporadic changes in speed or slow driving in the "fast" lane

Driving over the curb, changing into the wrong lane, weaving, or straddling two lanes

Frequent and unnecessary lane changes

Driving over the center-line or crossing a double yellow line
Stopping short of a stop sign, overshooting a stop sign, running a stop sign; alternately, stopping for a green light or stopping on the road
Failure to signal or deceptive signaling
Driving at night with no lights or failing to dim bright lights
Risky maneuvering or showing off
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