Quick reflexes and sharp thinking – these are two of the most important qualities of a safe driver. If someone is sharing the road with you or if you’re a passenger in their car, you want them to possess these traits, right?
Well, if they’re taking benzos, they lack both.
Recent research shows that benzodiazepines – like Xanax and Vailum – increase the risk of traffic accidents by 60 to 80 percent. As if that’s not enough, they also increase accident responsibility by 40 percent. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone, considering how benzos affect the body.
Under the influence of these anti-anxiety drugs, drivers are simply unable to make the quick, safe driving decisions necessary to navigate these great highways and byways of our nation. Here’s why:
Reason #1 Benzodiazepines Produce Sedation
Benzos are designed to make you sleepy. If a driver gets behind the wheel while under the influence of benzodiazepines , they risk driving while half asleep. In this sedated state, it’s nearly impossible to react as quickly as needed while driving. A drowsy driver won’t be completely aware of the surroundings or awake enough to respond appropriately. Red lights or stop signs may go unnoticed. Drifting toward sleep can cause drifting into oncoming traffic in the opposite lanes. Let’s face it: If you’re a drowsy driver, you’re not a safe driver.
Reason #2 Benzodiazepines Relax Your Muscles
Acting on the central nervous system, benzos cause muscle relaxation. In fact, this is one of their most desired effects. However, a relaxing effect isn’t so desirable behind the wheel. For safe driving, you must be able to turn the wheel quickly or slam on the brakes in an instant. Fractions of a second can literally make a lifetime of difference.
Reason #3 Benzodiazepines Cause Vertigo
A dizzy driver is an accident waiting to happen. If you’ve ever experienced vertigo, you know it’s extremely disorienting and certainly not something you’d want to feel behind the wheel. Vertigo is a group of symptoms that includes dizziness, light-headedness and unsteadiness. It’s also a side effect of benzos. A dizzy, unsteady driver will likely be unable to maintain control of a vehicle. Think about it – how easy would it be to lose control behind the wheel if your head is spinning?
Reason #4 Benzodiazepines Can Blur Your Vision
Blurry vision should serve as a big, bright red anti-driving flag. You aren’t likely to find anyone to argue that sight is unimportant when driving. The concept is simple: You need to see the road! Under the influence of benzos, however, your eyes don’t always function properly. Vision can be blurred or you may experience double vision. With either condition, driving safely just isn’t in the cards.
Reason #5 Benzodiazepines Can Impair Your Thinking
Without a clear head, stay home or call an Uber. Whether you’re flying down the highway at 70 miles per hour or cruising through a neighborhood at 30, your faculties have to be in tip-top shape. At any given moment, more than a dozen things are going on around you, so you must be ready to respond. Safe driving requires analyzation of these situations and appropriate reactions. Driving under the influence of benzos can make this impossible, as they commonly cause confusion and impaired thinking.
If you’re taking benzodiazepines, please keep these effects in mind as you reach for your car keys. The road risk is never worth it in the end.
Additional Reading: Xanax Passes Marijuana as Second-Leading Cause of DUI
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