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Steven M. Lee, PC

Blind Drunk: The Perils of Alcohol-Induced Impaired Vision

Alcohol may make it impossible to see well enough to drive safelyDriving safely requires the ability hone your senses in order to clearly see, hear, and anticipate potential dangers that surround you. When one of these senses is jeopardized, you risk of getting into an accident significantly increases. Although many things can affect your senses—infections, blockages, illness, etc.—the most dangerous yet the most preventable of these sensory-depriving ailments is intoxication.

We all know that alcohol and drugs can seriously affect the way a person perceives the world around him. This is exactly the reason why most individuals indulge. The problem arises when that perception alters your senses.

It is well documented that alcohol impairs the senses—hence why driving while drunk is so dangerous. Those who overindulge often struggle with:

  • Decreased coordination
  • Diminished awareness of others around them
  • A muffled sense of sound (inability to judge distance of horns and engine noises)

and perhaps most dangerously of all…

  • Impaired vision (inability to see other vehicles or pedestrians on the roadway)

Drunk Driving and Impaired Vision

When alcohol enters the bloodstream it travels throughout the body, absorbing into tissue and essentially slowing down body function—including eye function. As muscle coordination and focus begin to diminish throughout the body, it becomes harder and harder for the eyes to communicate with the brain. In addition, the following events can hinder visual focus and impair safe driving:

  • Blurred vision. The more you drink the fuzzier your vision becomes. Why? Because alcohol affects how quickly your pupils dilate as well as decreases the ability of the eye to adjust for brightness and contrast.
  • Decreased depth perception and peripheral vision. Since your pupils’ reaction time is limited, the amount of information they receive also becomes drastically reduced. This means that blind spots in your peripheral vision will widen and your ability to judge distance will decrease.
  • Fatigue. As alcohol begins to affect the brain and to slow down body functions, fatigue sets in quickly as a defensive mechanism—your body needs to rest in order to purge the alcohol. Excessive eye twitching can also be brought on by alcohol, making it hard to keep your eyes open.

Diminished vision and visual communication can cause a drunk driver to misperceive locations of where cars are on the road, swerve in front of cars without realizing it, drift off-road or into another car, plow straight into unseen traffic…the list goes on and on. This is why it is not only important to recognize your visual impairments before you get behind the wheel, but also know where to turn when someone else refuses to see his drunk-driving risks.

The Good Sense to Get the Help You Need

Drunk-driving crashes caused by impaired vision can have devastating and even deadly consequences. Responsibility for these irresponsible collisions lie with the driver who caused them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t pay.

If you or a loved one has been catastrophically injured in a crash where alcohol was involved, an experienced and aggressive personal injury lawyer can help. Call us today at 1-800-232-3711 for a free consultation. We’re waiting to help you make sense of your injury claim while putting your accident in the right perspective for your insurance company.


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