You are generally free to behave as you see fit, provided that your actions don’t have negative consequences for other people. The law often seeks to limit areas where one person’s wishes or behaviors negatively impact someone else’s life.

On the road, there are certain decisions people make that put themselves, their passengers and anyone they pass along the road at greater risk. One of those decisions involves choosing to drive after consuming alcohol, which increases the risk of a serious car crash.

The fact that driving while under the influence of alcohol is dangerous is so widely recognized that you would think no one would knowingly do it. Unfortunately, as statistics unfortunately show, thousands of people drive drunk on the American roads, causing thousands of deaths and many more injuries to others.

How does alcohol affect someone’s driving?

Alcohol has a tendency to decrease someone’s sense of inhibition and make them feel relaxed or sociable. Unfortunately, with those social perks come other, less desirable cognitive consequences. One of the first is that alcohol impacts someone’s ability to concentrate. It is harder to focus after you have had a few drinks.

Additionally, alcohol will increase how long it takes you to react in an unexpected situation. When you do react, alcohol impairs your decision-making ability, leading to mistakes. Alcohol can even affect your vision, making it harder for you to notice people, animals or vehicles in the road near you.

The way alcohol impacts the body makes it unsafe for someone to drive once they feel the effects of the alcohol. Public awareness of drunk driving’s risks and its illegality is near-universal. You would struggle to find someone who doesn’t acknowledge that driving after drinking is both dangerous and illegal. Still, countless people in Oklahoma get behind the wheel after drinking each year.

Drunk drivers incur both criminal and civil risk

If a drunk driver causes a crash or gets pulled over by police, they could face arrest and consequences including loss of their license, substantial fines and even incarceration. Additionally, if they cause property damage or injury to someone else, they could also face civil claims by the victims of their actions.

Exploring your rights after you or someone you love experiences a crash caused by a drunk driver can help you hold that person accountable and protect yourself from the financial fallout of the crash.