Incorrect: Stoned driving is just as bad as driving drunk
Posted on May 13, 2018 | By Henry | Leave a response
It would be a standard misconception by those who’ve never gone on a journey—Dazed and Confused-style—that driving under the influence of cannabis is just as bad as driving under the influence of alcohol. As lab data and experience shows, that’s simply not so.
Though smoking marijuana does impair psychomotor skills, the impairment is not “severe or long-lasting.” According to a review of the scientific evidence by NORML, drivers who’ve indulged in the devil’s lettuce tend to be more self-aware of their impairment—and probably the cops—and therefore tend to drive more slowly, though often taking more time to respond properly to emergency situations. (Quick thinking has never been the stoner’s best trait.)
Comparing stoned driving to drunk driving is a bit like comparing your weed smoking friend to the local booze artist. The individual under the influence of marijuana is likely to be more introverted and self-aware, while the intoxicated alcohol imbiber is almost certainly more extroverted and more or less sloppy. Think about it this way: who is more likely to start a brawl with a stranger, and who is more likely to give said stranger a high five for being “an all-around cool dude?” These behaviors are paralleled behind the wheel of a car. Studies indicate that high drivers focus their attention on situations that may require a response, resulting in slower and more careful—though not necessarily safer—driving, while drunk drivers exhibit riskier behaviors in proportion to their level of intoxication, such as driving through stop signs or speeding through town. There’s a reason around 10,000 automotive deaths are caused by alcohol each year.
While driving under the influence of any impairment isn’t condoned, it would seem that drunk driving is, by far, the greater of the two evils.