What do you do when you are feeling stressed or anxious?
Do you try to blow it off by going for a run? Do you try to bring yourself out of the feeling through breathing exercises, meditation or yoga? Or do you pour yourself a glass of wine or reach for some calming pills?
If you’re in the last category, you’re far from alone.
Alcohol and drug use rose in 2020, and so did vehicle crashes
The last year has been particularly stressful for many people. The damage to mental and emotional health has been well documented. Midway through 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 13% increase in people turning to drugs or alcohol to help them cope with the situation.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) thinks this is one reason vehicle accidents rose despite people driving fewer miles than ever. They found around two-thirds of people killed in 2020 vehicle crashes had traces of alcohol or drugs in their blood. Many had both.
Alcohol and drugs do not mix with driving
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol has always been an issue. That is why various safety campaigns have targeted drivers to inform them of the dangers and why there are laws against doing so.
Alcohol and drugs such as marijuana or opioids reduce alertness. People use them to relax and take their minds off their problems. Unfortunately, this is disastrous when they then hop into their vehicle. When driving, people need to be alert. Anything that reduces alertness makes driving more dangerous.
The next time you head out on the road, remember that there are drivers out there who are driving under the influence. Any one of them could cause you a vehicle collision.