Driving under the influence of drugs, whether they are prescription or recreational, has numerous risks attached to it and you are putting the lives of yourself, your passengers, and other road users in danger. When behind the wheel, it is essential that you are in full control of your senses and are always alert to prevent accidents from happening. Using recreational or medicinal drugs impairs your ability to do so, and we will be explaining how drugs can affect your driving and exploring the potential implications of your actions.

How can drugs affect your ability to drive?

Did you know drug driving is a factor in over 1 in 20 fatal crashes in the UK? There are so many different ways in which drugs can affect your body, which is why it can be such a big risk to drive regardless of the type of substance in your system. They can affect your awareness of your surroundings, judgement of situations, and reaction times, putting you and other road users in danger.

Prescription drugs

Many different types of medication provided to you by your doctor can affect your ability to drive, and this will be displayed on the box, although it is not always easy to tell and this is sometimes only displayed in the small print. Effects of prescription medication can include drowsiness, slow reaction times, blurred vision, and short attention span. Due to the risk involved, always check the label or carry out your own research if you are taking prescription medication and you want to get behind the wheel.

Illegal drugs

Whilst you are breaking the law whilst being in possession of any controlled substances, driving whilst under the influence of these only makes this a more severe offence. The effects of the most commonly used illegal drugs include:

  • Cannabis – Slower reaction times, tiredness, and poorer coordination. This means that your ability to steer your vehicle will be reduced and you are less likely to be able to avoid another vehicle pulling out in front of you.
  • Cocaine – Although you may feel alert, this will have a detrimental effect on your ability to make rational decisions behind the wheel. It can also cause overconfidence, and after use you will begin to feel tired and will struggle for concentration.
  • MDMA and ecstasy – With your heart beating faster, this increase in adrenaline can make you more erratic and mean you don’t think through the decisions you make whilst driving. It can also cause anxiety and panic attacks, which are both dangerous to experience when on the road.
  • Dissociative drugs – The most common dissociative drug is ketamine, which can cause temporary muscle paralysis, hallucinations, and confusion, which prevents you from being able to drive safely.
  • Hallucinogens – Drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms can cause you to lose your sense of time and proximity of other cars or objects, making it highly likely that you will crash under their influence.

UK drug driving laws

It is an offence to drive while impaired by any type of drugs in the UK. This can be either controlled drugs or prescription medications. There is zero-tolerance on eight illegal drugs, although there are minimum limits which means it is impossible for you to have taken them accidentally. These are:

  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Ketamine
  • LSD
  • MDMA
  • Meth
  • Speed

You can also have action taken against you if your blood contains over the specified limit of nine prescription drugs, which are:

  • amphetamine
  • clonazepam
  • diazepam
  • flunitrazepam
  • lorazepam
  • methadone
  • morphine or other opiates
  • oxazepam
  • temazepam

If the police believe that you are under the influence of drugs whilst driving, they can pull you over and carry out tests that indicate whether you are or not. There are roadside test kits for cannabis and cocaine. If you are suspected of being in an unsuitable state to drive, you will be arrested and taken to a police station for further testing.

It is essential to be as alert as possible at all times when driving to avoid accidents and damage occurring to your car. If you require servicing or repairs to your vehicle, our team at Double Dee Autos can help. We can fix any mechanical or bodywork problems with your car to ensure it is looking and operating at its best once again. To get booked in with us, call now on 020 8460 3040 or email ben@ddautos.co.uk.