Car Accident Claims Life of One Teen
July 5, 2006
Samantha Lyons-Dauck, 19, of Oglesby, Il was killed and the driver, 19-year-old Jared Goskusky of Tonica, was life-flighted to OSF St. Francis Medical Center where he is in serious condition after a one car rollover accident in the early morning hours of Friday, June 16.
It’s still unclear why the car left the roadway just before 5 a.m., and friends fear it could be alcohol related. Source: hoinews.com
Safe Driving Lesson Learned
The first thing to be affected by alcohol is your judgment. When you drink, both your thinking and your reasoning become impaired. You become less likely to consider the consequences of your actions. You underestimate the risks of being on the road, and overestimate your ability to tolerate alcohol. The fact that you are judging the situation from an impaired mindset leads one to make a decision that could be dangerous, as you then make the “impaired decision” to get behind the wheel. The choice to get behind the wheel in this case was affected by alcohol, and the consequences were not considered.
After your judgment, the next thing alcohol affects is your reaction time. You become physically slower and less alert. It takes you longer to hit the brake but, because your judgment is impaired, you’re not likely to increase your following distance in order to compensate. You process information slower, which affects your perception of traffic situations.
Finally, alcohol affects your vision. It relaxes the muscles that focus and move the eyes, causing your vision to become distorted. Your perception of distance is affected. You have a hard time judging how close you are to other vehicles, road signs or traffic signals. Your pupils take longer to adjust to changes in light, so you’re more vulnerable to being blinded by the glare of headlights. Your eye muscles may even relax to the point that you can’t focus and your vision becomes fuzzy and you see a double image. Alcohol also affects peripheral vision or the area around your eyes but not directly in front of you. This is how we perceive lights, shadows, and motion. Peripheral vision area is needed when driving; as you travel down the road the guy on the bike might be beside the road prior to pulling in front of you, but with a diminished field of vision, combined with a lack of reaction time, the result could be tragic. Either of the two affected areas alone could have been a problem, but when combined, the potential is deadly.
When you drink, your bad driving habits become more pronounced. Imagine yourself on the road after having one drink. If a person runs out in front of your car, can you stop in time? After one drink, your motor skills have been affected. Your ability to think and see has clearly diminished. After two or three drinks, your decision-making skills are seriously hampered, your attention span decreases and you take longer to think and longer to react. What if a child chases a ball out into the street? Will you be able to react and stop in time?
This post is an excerpt from a recent edition of the Safe Driving Teen Monthly Bulletin. Each month the National Safety Commission publishes the bulletin for teens and parents designed to improve teen driver behavior, attitude, skills, and experience. Subscription Details