There are already plenty of reasons to not drink and drive, but a new study out of the University of Grenada (UGR) indicates that excess alcohol consumption can temporarily disturb night vision.
Researchers found that drinking alcohol increases the perception of halos and other disturbances at night. These halo visuals can make it difficult for a driver to identify traffic signs or a pedestrian crossing the street. The findings also showed that night vision impairment further increased when participants had a breath alcohol content of more than 0.25mg/liter, the legal limit for driving recommended by the World Health Organization.
This image deterioration comes from alcohol disturbing the tear-film that covers the eye surface, due to ethanol from the beverages seeping into the outermost layer of the film known as the lipid layer. Using a "halometer" to assess the levels of visual disturbance in the 67 subjects, researchers from the Laboratory of Vision Sciences and Applications found that disturbances in nighttime vision occur after just one or two drinks.
UGR lecturer Jose Juan Castro, principal author of the study, noted that "alcohol consumption and low-illumination conditions are factors present in many traffic accidents, hence people must be made aware of the effects of alcohol consumption, especially on vision."
In addition to the obvious risks that include putting others in danger, arrest and a criminal record, here are five other reasons why you should never drink and drive.
- It could hurt your chances of going back to school. Most financial aid applications ask if you’ve had any previous convictions, so this can greatly impact scholarship opportunities.
- You could lose a commercial driver’s license. A DUI conviction disqualifies applicants from obtaining this.
- It could hurt your chances of having a child. While a DUI obviously has no impact on conceiving a child, past convictions can be a negative factor in the lengthy application process for adoption.
- Your car insurance can be revoked. Even if you’re able to keep it, it’s a guarantee that your rates will increase significantly after a DUI conviction.
- It could spark mental health problems. The ramifications of a DUI incident, particularly if it causes serious injury to yourself or other people, can cause overwhelming feelings of regret and guilt that could lead to depression.
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