Surrounded by Drugged Drivers…Are You Safe?
What is a drugged driver? Well, it is an addict who is driving under the influence of illicit drugs or prescription or illegally obtained pills. Not everyone who takes pain medicine is going to crash. However, the likelihood greatly increases if they are abusing their medications. According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 10.5 million people reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the previous year. This tells us that there are more drugged drivers than we think.
Why is drugged driving so bad? You probably already get the picture, but let me make it clear. When you are under the influence of drugs, your reaction time is based on the drug. Sedatives (like Xanax) and narcotics (opiates) give you a slowed reaction time. Stimulants (cocaine) may make you extra jumpy. Your thought process is also negatively affected when you are intoxicated with prescription pills. All of these reasons together create the perfect mix for car accidents.
How can I avoid a drugged driver? Basic defensive driving principles work for dealing with drugged drivers. Steer clear of cars that are swerving, driving in two lanes, sporadically hitting their brakes, look suspicious or have their music louder than their muffler. OK, that last one is just a pet peeve, but you get the point. Our officers are doing their best to protect our streets, being specifically trained to spot drugged drivers. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports “Officers learn to detect characteristics in a person’s behavior and appearance that may be associated with drug intoxication. If the officer suspects drug intoxication, a blood or urine sample is submitted to a laboratory for confirmation.”
Have you been on the road and thought you may be near a drugged driver? Tell us the behaviors you witnessed and share below or on our Facebook page. Your experiences may help others to recognize these behaviors.