One reason that people get in the car and drive when they’re under the influence of alcohol is simply that they don’t believe they are all that intoxicated. It’s not that they are trying to be reckless and taking unnecessary risks. They have considered it and decided that it would be safe to drive.
Of course, in a situation where that person is over the legal limit, the police officer is not going to care that they thought it was safe enough to drive. But it can be important to look at why someone would make this type of mistake.
The problem comes down to the fact that alcohol impairs your ability to make important judgment calls and an accurate assessment of many different things, including your own level of intoxication. Subjects in various studies have shown a consistent inability to accurately guess how intoxicated they are. So someone may honestly think that they are not very drunk and that it would be safe to drive when they are actually well over the legal limit.
These studies have also discovered that people often judge their own impairment level based on a comparison to those around them. Someone who is around a lot of other highly intoxicated individuals may feel that they are sober even though they are also impaired, just based on the fact that everyone else is more intoxicated than they are.
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