The Effects Of Alcohol On Your Mind When Driving: What Happens In Your Mind


drunk driving

Drinking can be a fun social activity, especially if you’re with the right people. It’s one of the many ways we can do to unwind and let go of a lot of stressful things in life, and having a fun night with friends can be one of the most memorable things we can experience in our lives. Unfortunately, drinking and driving isn’t always the most fun of activities, and it should be avoided given the threats and risks it poses to ourselves and to others around us.

Sometimes, other people make the excuse that their homes are near or they’re “not drunk,” hence their desire to drive. Unfortunately, this excuse can still lead to accidents, and sometimes we regret things one minute too late. In terms of legalities, there are multiple things to consider when it comes to drunk driving, especially if you live in states that have different drunk driving laws.

In this particular article, we’ll explore just exactly what the effects of alcohol on your mind are when driving, and why is drunk driving such a potentially dangerous thing to do.

Please do remember however, that this article doesn’t contain everything you need to know about the effects of alcohol in the brain. If you are curious about the full extent of alcohol’s influence on your body, it might be best to talk with a physician or a medical professional about this. In any case, this article serves to give you a brief background just how potentially dangerous drunk driving could be.

Alcohol and the Mind: It Really Depends

drinking alcohol

Psychology Today explains that it’s important to remember that before we understand how alcohol affects the mind, we need to learn that alcohol affects everyone in varying degrees depending on particular elements.

●   For instance, how often and how much a person drinks has a lot of impact when it comes to the effects of alcohol in the mind. However, it’s also important to learn when the person started drinking, and how long the person has been drinking.

●  More specific factors include the person’s age, genetic factors, sex, and whether or not the family of the person actually has an alcoholism issue. The person’s overall health is also a factor to the effects of alcohol in the mind.

The Frequency Matters

In our discussion, however, we’ll focus on the effects of alcohol in the mind depending on the kind of drinker based on frequency. Scientific American also explains that alcohol has different effects depending if the person is actually an occasional, moderate, or heavy drinker. If you want to find out about the more specific effects of alcohol in a person’s system, you may want to consult a professional on the matter.

Occasional Drinkers

For occasional drinkers, they may notice that alcohol actually has a few short-term effects after a few drinks. These include memory impairment, which can become worse the more alcohol they consume. In fact, if they drink on an empty stomach, there are chances of blacking out if they have too many drinks. Occasional drinkers who suffer from blackouts typically  manage to cope without having lasting problems.

● Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean they are safe during the entire night they are drinking. Acute alcohol intoxication may lead drinkers to engage in reckless acts such as vandalism, drunk driving, and unprotected sex.

Moderate Drinkers

Moderate drinkers are individuals who consume a drink (for women) or two (for men) a day. While some medical researches indicate that drinking has some positive effects, it may not be a good-enough reason for you to start drinking on a regular basis. For moderate drinkers, drinking can cause falls, violence, potential accidents, and even drownings.

● Even moderate drinkers aren’t safe from the cognitive impairment that is commonly associated with occasional drinking, which means moderate drinkers are in just as much risk as occasional drinkers for driving that is dangerously compromised.

Heavy Drinkers

Someone may be considered a heavy drinker if they’ve been drinking for a long period of time. Unfortunately, they may be at the point where drinking may actually form deficits in their brain functions that can last even when they’re sober. While cognitive problems may not be common while drinking, there are chances of lasting brain damage when this happens.

● Chances are, heavy drinkers experience impairment on intellectual functioning on a mild to moderate level, and may even have a smaller brain size. They may not be able to think abstractly and perceive two-and-three-dimensional spaces properly.


Of course, just because someone is a drinker and is experiencing these effects means they’re not possible to treat. Abstinence from alcohol may be able to help treat these effects and “redevelop” or improve their cognitive abilities. These include improving short-term memory, problem solving, and their visuospatial (perception of objects in 2D and 3D) abilities. Any improvement should translate to an enhancement of brain functioning that is necessary for driving.


The things elaborated above could hopefully give you an overall idea just what sort of effects alcohol has on your mind when driving, and what happens in our minds when we’re intoxicated. It’s better to understand how alcohol affects us now, so we can better handle ourselves when it comes to social events and at least understand why it’s not a good idea to drink and drive at the same time.

About Author

Sharon Golden

Sharon Golden has been a law writer and businesswoman for more than 20 years, and she is currently working on his next big project. Her pieces offer knowledge on various law topics that are easily understandable to the common reader. Sharon cannot be separated from Sophia, their family dog. When Sharon has the time, she’s always seen walking Sophia around the city.

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