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How do drugs increase the risk of a car accident?

Driving can be a dangerous activity, even when motorists are well-rested, sober, and attentive behind the wheel. Yet, far too often motorists take actions that increase the risk of a car accident. It doesn't take a genius to recognize the dangers of drunk driving, as local and state laws have attempted to curtail it and public service initiatives have attempted to raise awareness. However, drunk driving isn't the only kind of impaired driving that is becoming a problem in Tennessee. Drugged driving is also becoming more prevalent, leading to more wrecks, injuries, and deaths.

How does drug use affect one's driving ability? The effects of drug use can be similar to those of alcohol intoxication. Regardless of whether an individual is under the influence of methamphetamine, cocaine, or marijuana, his or her reaction time can be affected and his or her depth perception altered. This can make it difficult for a motorist to maintain his or her lane, recognize crosswalks and traffic signals, and maintain proper speed.

A number of Tennesseans are injured in wrecks caused by drugged drivers. In fact, marijuana is the most commonly found drug in drivers, after alcohol. The victims of these wrecks can struggle to find physical, emotional, and financial stability in the aftermath, which is why pursuing a personal injury lawsuit in hopes of recovering compensation may be a smart move.

Proving the effects of drugs on a driver's abilities can be challenging, though, especially when it comes to marijuana. Other than blood tests, there aren't any easily administered tests that can detect the presence of drugs. Also, marijuana can stay in an individual's system for days, meaning that its presence may not correlate with intoxication. However, negligence is negligence. Therefore, if an accident was caused by an error committed by another driver, then it may be worth speaking with an experienced attorney who may be able to assist with gathering evidence to help buttress a victim's claim.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse, "Drugged Driving," accessed on Feb. 10, 2017

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