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© content copyright Sussex Safer Roads 2014

Safer for drivers

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Publicity campaigns have, over a period of time, done much to change attitudes to drinking and driving. Drink driving has now become largely socially unacceptable, and driving while under the influence of drugs (whether illegal or medicinal) is fast moving up the national agenda.

Drink Driving

Unfortunately, there remains a hard core of persistent offenders who are still to be convinced of the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol. Many people still believe that it is only drivers who are obviously drunk who are a danger and that social drinking is not really a problem. Everyone should realise that even a small amount of alcohol can affect driving ability.

Each year we run two anti drink drive campaigns; at Christmas and during the summer months, both are times when there is a peak in drink related collisions.  

Possible explainations for the increase in alcohol related collisions include parties and drivers not realising when they are over the limit.

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There is no safe limit!

Driving under the influence of alcohol:
    * Increases reaction times
    * Reduces concentration
    * Impairs judgement of speed and distance
    * Produces overconfidence

This combination greatly increases the likelihood of being involved in a road traffic crash and leads to death, injury and misery.

If you are going out for a drink:
    * Arrange for a someone who is not drinking to be a designated driver
    * Use a taxi
    * Use public transport
    * Walk
    * Don't attempt to use a bicycle - riding while under the influence is highly dangerous and can lead to prosecution.

GEM Motoring Assist have produced a helpful video looking at the issues surrounding drink driving. 

Drugs and driving

While most of us accept that drinking and driving is unacceptable and the consequences can be fatal, many of us do not fully understand the issue of drugs and driving. Recreational drugs are difficult to detect but extensive field trials are taking place and are leading to reliable testing and roadside impairment testing.

Recent research has disclosed the presence of drugs in one form or another in a significant number of drivers who have died in crashes. It must be noted though that not all the drugs detected will have impaired the drivers or have contributed to the crash.

Many people are not aware that many prescription or over the counter medicines can have a marked effect on driving ability. The list below shows some more common examples but the best advice is to always ask your doctor or pharmacist if the medicine will affect your ability to drive and always read the information sheets that come with the medicine.

The following types of drugs can cause drowsiness and impair your ability to drive:
    * Some antidepressants
    * Stronger painkillers e.g. those containing codeine or dihydrocodeine.
    * Powerful tranquillisers – used for the treatment of some mental disorders. Some drugs used to treat epilepsy e.g. phenobarbitone and phenytoin.
    * Benzodiazepine tranquillisers e.g. tamazepam or diazepam – commonly prescribed for anxiety or insomnia.
    * Some antihistamines – used in hayfever medicines.
Also:
Insulin and oral anti-diabetic drugs. Low blood sugar can contribute to confusion and impairment of driving ability. Some eye drops can cause short-term blurring of vision.

REMEMBER
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice Read the labels Don’t drink while taking drugs Always report side effects to your doctor

If in doubt, don’t drive.

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