Why Drunk Driving Can Lead to Car Accidents and Injuries

Drunk driving is a grave and persistent issue that continues to be a leading cause of car accidents and injuries across the United States. In Virginia, approximately 30 percent of all traffic fatalities each year are caused by drunk drivers. Despite the well-documented dangers and legal consequences, people continue to make the reckless decision to get behind the wheel while impaired by alcohol. This dangerous behavior puts not only the intoxicated driver at risk but also endangers the lives of other road users. A Virginia Beach car accident attorney can help victims of drunk driving accidents get the financial compensation they deserve for the losses they suffer.

How Does Alcohol Impact Drivers?

There are a number of ways that being under the influence of alcohol can affect a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.

Impaired Judgment and Coordination

One of the most significant reasons why drunk driving leads to accidents is the impairment of judgment and coordination caused by alcohol. Alcohol affects the brain’s ability to make rational decisions and impairs reaction times. As a result, intoxicated drivers are more likely to take risks, make poor judgments, and have difficulty reacting quickly to changing road conditions.

Alcohol also impairs physical coordination, making it challenging for drunk drivers to control their vehicles, especially during emergencies. This lack of coordination can lead to loss of control, rollovers, or collisions.

Reduced Inhibitory Control

Alcohol can lower inhibitions, leading individuals to engage in risky behavior they might otherwise avoid. Drunk drivers may feel overly confident and underestimate the dangers of their impaired state. They are more likely to engage in reckless activities like speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, running red lights, making illegal turns, or driving the wrong way on one-way streets, all of which increase the likelihood of accidents.

Decreased Concentration

Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to concentrate on the task at hand. When driving, this can result in distracted behavior that diverts attention away from the road. Reduced concentration is a significant contributing factor to accidents caused by drunk drivers.

Slower Reaction Times

Alcohol significantly slows down reaction times, making it difficult for intoxicated drivers to respond promptly to unexpected situations on the road. This delayed reaction can result in collisions, especially when quick evasive maneuvers are necessary to avoid accidents.

Impaired Vision

Alcohol impairs vision by affecting the eye’s ability to focus, limiting peripheral vision, and causing blurred or double vision. Impaired vision can make it difficult for drunk drivers to see road signs, obstacles, and other vehicles, increasing the risk of accidents, especially at night.

Poor Motor Skills

Alcohol impairs fine and gross motor skills, making it challenging for intoxicated drivers to control their vehicles effectively. Drunk drivers may have difficulty maintaining proper lane positioning, steering, and braking, which can lead to collisions with other vehicles or stationary objects.


Intoxicated individuals often overestimate their abilities, including their capacity to drive safely. This overconfidence can lead to a false sense of security, causing drunk drivers to take unnecessary risks on the road, such as attempting to operate at high speeds or weaving through traffic.

Impaired Perception of Speed and Distance

Alcohol can distort a person’s perception of speed and distance, leading to misjudgments when passing other vehicles or making turns. Drunk drivers may underestimate how fast they are traveling or misjudge the distance between their vehicle and other objects, increasing the risk of collisions.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm for Legal Assistance

If you or a family member suffered injuries in a crash caused by a drunk driver, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our skilled Virginia Beach injury lawyers. Our firm has successfully obtained more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts, like the $200,000 personal injury insurance settlement we obtained for one client who suffered a broken hip and a fractured vertebra when a highly intoxicated driver crashed into his car.

For your convenience, we have offices in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, Portsmouth, and Chesapeake.