Pennsylvania drivers like you understand that it is illegal to drink and then drive. But do you know why? Do you know how alcohol affects your body? Do you understand where the dangers come from and how they influence you behind the wheel? 

It is important to understand the whys behind the laws. In doing so, it allows you to see where the primary dangers come from. 

Alcohol affects everyone differently

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration looks at the impact alcohol has on drivers. First, it is important to note that each individual reacts to alcohol in a different way. One person may have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent but not “feel” drunk at all. Another may have a BAC of 0.02 percent, at which point they are already rendered incapable of walking a straight line. 

With that in mind, alcohol tends to impact all drivers in a similar way. It affects your vision, judgment and reaction time above all else. These are three of the things you need for safe driving. 

Impact on vision, judgment and reaction time

In terms of vision, you may lose color distinction and fail to tell colors apart. This is a problem when most traffic signals and signs rely on color to relay information. You may also suffer from blurred or double vision, or struggle to focus on things. You may also struggle to judge the speed, movement and distance of other objects or vehicles. 

Alcohol also impacts the area of the brain that stores knowledge and experiences. It delays your ability to consult your own mental library, rendering your reactions slow. Your response to critical driving tasks suffers, and you may struggle to focus, stay awake or make snap judgment decisions. All together, this can lead to crashes.