What You Need to Know About Cannabis and Driving Impairment

Cannabis is becoming legalized in more areas across the United States.

But even though if it’s legal in your home state, you should be aware of the ways it can impair your ability to drive.

It’s not just alcohol that can lead to an arrest for DUI.

In 2012, Colorado legalized cannabis (marijuana) sales to anyone over the age of 21. According to the Colorado State Patrol, more than 12% of DUI citations in 2014 involved suspected use of marijuana.

Read on to learn more about what you need to know about marijuana and how it can impair your driving abilities.

It Inhibits Your Motor Coordination

Driving under the influence of marijuana impairs your motor coordination.

Decreased motor skills mean that things like your spatial recognition are inhibited. This is dangerous when driving, since you must be able to measure distances of other vehicles.

Despite concerns about driving under the influence of marijuana, the evidence shows people still do it.

“There’s a lot of troubling information we’ve collected and many marijuana users indicate they drive high and they don’t think it’s a danger,” Colorado Department of Transportation Sam Cole said, according to The Denver Post. He added that among survey respondents who said they used marijuana within the last 30 days, “Fifty percent of marijuana users say they have driven high.”

As an alternative to using marijuana, some people are turning to vaping oils instead. Oils like CBD vapor help users feel more relaxed, but do not have the THC that give marijuana users a high.

Decreased Reaction Time

A vehicle operator must be able to react quickly to changing conditions to drive safely.

If a driver is under the influence of marijuana, their reaction time is slowed down. This makes routine actions like braking or swerving to avoid accidents harder.

At times, a driver will need to make split second decisions. This certainly becomes more challenging when using marijuana.

It Impairs Judgment

Drivers under the influence of marijuana also suffer from impaired judgment.

Routine decisions are harder to make, making for riskier behavior behind the wheel.

There are a lot of variables to evaluate while driving. These can include other vehicles, road closures, traffic signals and speed limits. In a matter of seconds, a driver may need to make a handful of decisions — and fast.

Avoid A DUI

The best way to avoid a DUI is to not operate a vehicle if you have use marijuana or drank alcohol.

Even though marijuana is legal in some areas in the United States, the THC in it can impact your ability to drive safely. This includes impairing your judgment, decreasing your reaction time and inhibiting motor coordination.

The most important variable in all of this is you, the driver. Unlike road or weather conditions, this decision is completely in your control.

By not mixing these substances with driving, you help make the roads safer for you, your passengers and other motorists. Enjoy your high at home, instead of out on the road.

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