Alcohol & Driving

Looking into Alcohol

Alcohol is the most commonly used drug in Western society, and many others around the world, with exceptions of some religious states.

Given its almost unrestricted availability, it’s not much of a surprise to find that it is one of the most widely abused drugs too.

Alcohol, like many other drugs is a depressant, acting on various parts of the central nervous system, it slows down some of our brain functions.

When the brains speech centres are affected, speech can become slurred as if said with a swollen tongue. Vision centres affected will give untrue or distorted vision.

The effects of alcohol last a few hours, but with a certain amount drunk, when we wake up, usually a morning thing, the alcohol can still be making itself felt in a hangover.

There are various explanations regarding hangovers. The nervous system is still irritated or agitated by the alcohol consumed.

Dehydration caused by the diuretic effect of alcohol cause swelling of the brain, giving a headache.

There are theories of enzyme imbalance, and more, but there is little to be done about it.

Some can be tempted to drink alcohol to alleviate the hangover, which in some cases it can do, but this can become something of a vicious circle, where lines of choice and dependency blur.

The Effect of Drinking

The effect of drinking can vary as to the state of the brain in relation to the immediate environment.

In moderation, perhaps at home sitting quietly, the brain has a low activity level, and the reaction to the drink would usually be one of relaxation.

In an environment of social interaction with sights and sounds moving and changing, the brains’ activity increases, and alcohol affects higher brain centres and can lower some social inhibitions. This can make one more talkative, and exert more self-confidence.

If the intake increases, there may be distortion to brain centres resulting in impaired speech and/or vision. There can also be a loss of inhibitions and self-restraint.

This may also lead to partial memory loss of the occasions events once sober again.

Alcohol is generally measured in units, with a half pint of standard strength beer or lager, representing one unit, as do one measure of spirits, or one small glass of wine.

It is represented as mg of alcohol to ml of blood. So one to two units- a half to one pint of beer, would give a reading of 20-50mg/100ml.

So three to four units, one and a half to two pints of beer, 50-80mg/100ml, and the legal limit for driving in England is 80mg/100ml, no higher. If you record a reading higher than this you need expert legal representation from who have an excellent track record limiting the punishments for all motoring offences.