The Effects of Marijuana on Driving

By Jonathan Blecher on November 15, 2013

When it comes to reckless and dangerous driving on the road, there are several factors that can contribute; one of which is marijuana. Over the past few decades, the widespread use of marijuana amongst the general public has been seemingly rampant. And with over two dozen states decriminalizing the use of marijuana, access to this drug is easier than ever. However, it is still illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs as studies have shown that a person’s perception can be impaired beyond the ability to control a vehicle; although, this doesn’t necessarily stop individuals from trying.

Now people not only have to be concerned about drunk drivers on the road but also drugged ones as well. If you or someone you know frequently drives while under the influence of drugs such as marijuana then there are a few things you should consider before getting behind the wheel.

The following are common effects that marijuana may have on your driving.

  1. Skewed Distance Perception
    Marijuana can slightly or drastically skew your perception of distance from other vehicles (moving or parked), curbs and properties, or pedestrians which is a very dangerous situation and puts you at a higher risk of getting into accidents and injuring others as well as yourself in the process.
  2. Short Term Memory Loss
    Marijuana can also cause you to have short term memory loss. It’s possible to all of a sudden forget where you’re at or what you’re doing even if you’re in the middle of driving. The feeling is almost comparable to blacking out and immediately regaining consciousness again; a very dangerous occurrence if it were to happen while you were on the road.
  3. Lack of Hand-Eye Coordination
    Marijuana definitely has an effect on your muscles and while it has the capability of relaxing your muscles, it also causes you to lose your ability to control them efficiently. This includes hand-eye coordination which is an important skill you use while you drive. Sometimes you’ll find that controlling the speed of your vehicle, staying on your lane, and steering can become a challenge.
  4. Slow Reaction Time
    Marijuana impairs your ability to quickly react to events, especially those that come on by surprises such as a child running across the street, the sudden braking of a car in front of you, or the quick changing of traffic lights. Driving requires you to be alert; something you’ll have a hard time being if you’re under the influence of this drug.
  5. The onset of Anxiety Attacks
    Marijuana can cause the unexpected onset of anxiety which can cause you to panic. It can also cause mood swings, depression and paranoia. Some individuals have been known to have complete breakdowns in the middle of the road and lose complete control of their driving.

Not everyone may experience these side effects of marijuana, but it all depends on the amount used, how many hours have passed since the time you used, the method of consumption, and other differentiating factors. Conclusively, marijuana can compromise your driving ability to a degree which ultimately results in poor driving behavior.

Have further questions? Contact Miami criminal defense attorney, Jonathan Blecher, P.A. He has over three decades of experience defending clients from charges of driving while impaired by drugs. Get your free consultation by calling the firm to schedule an appointment or submitting an online form.

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