Driving Drunk vs. Driving High: What’s The Difference

Driving Drunk vs. Driving High

In each scenario, the individual would be high or intoxicated by a substance. Each merely affects the brain and body differently. While a drunken high makes a person more aggressive, confident, and self-assured, weed makes some calm, reflective, and more self-involved.

On all accounts, how you react to driving depends significantly on the amount you consume and your level of impairment. When high on any cannabis product in a driving situation, a driver might sense they’re performing capably when, in fact, such tasks as remaining in their own lane is a challenge.

Driving drunk impairs alertness and the ability to react immediately or sensibly if coming upon a sudden situation like a pedestrian walkway or a traffic signal. Intoxication and driving are awful, no matter the substance of choice. 

Cannabis, in a distinct quantity, dosing has yet to be determined as to what it takes to be dangerous except to note that it affects the brain directly. Alcohol has definitive amounts that will cause drivers to react poorly. 

Without knowing the exact quantity to label cannabis effects dangerous while driving, the consensus is to avoid cannabis and alcohol when operating a vehicle.

Why Drunk Driving Is Dangerous

Driving Drunk vs. Driving High

The startling, numerous fatalities occurring on the roadways due to drunk driving led to the awareness of consuming specific amounts, driving an auto, and what the outcome could be. The driver has difficulty operating an automobile safely with alcohol restricting their judgment, ability to react, and self-control are all crucial aspects of driving.

Each driver is different, meaning the amount of alcohol it takes to render a driver unable to operate a vehicle safely varies. Some only need a small amount to be considered impaired. That will not only put themselves in danger but everyone else on the roadway. It’s discouraged for anyone drinking to get behind the wheel, regardless of the amount drunk.

The suggestion is always to have a designated driver or be prepared to call a driver or taxi to pick you up if you know there will be drinking at the event you’re attending.

What Does It Mean To Drink And Drive?

Once you’ve consumed alcohol and decided to operate a vehicle, the law has been broken with the potential for severe consequences. The common abbreviation denoting driving while being under the influence of alcoholic beverages is “DUI.” When your blood alcohol content or BAC rises to 0.08 percent or above, operating a vehicle would be deemed illegal.

That doesn’t make you any safer with BAC under this amount. While a driver might not meet the legal requirement, that doesn’t mean they haven’t become intoxicated, nor is there a guarantee the person won’t drive erratically, making the substance dangerous. Many of the people who do drink and drive are often individuals attempting to hide an alcohol abuse problem. 

These people can often binge in incredible quantities in small amounts of time, which is not only unhealthy but extremely dangerous if they were to get behind the wheel. Usually, the effects of this alcohol use take approximately “half an hour to two hours” for the bloodstream to absorb it. 

That’s when the cognitive reactions are delayed, the possibility of slipping into the other driver’s lane, and breathing becomes much slower, greatly diminishing the individual’s capability for driving.

 For a person to drive responsibly, the individual must have adequate reaction time, which means adapting to surrounding conditions, focusing on the road, and making the necessary good judgments. The likelihood of performing all these simultaneously when under the influence of alcohol at any level is slim.

Why Driving Under The Influence Of Cannabis Is Dangerous

Driving when high on cannabis products is discouraged since the impairment exposes you and those on the road with you to severe safety consequences. The greater the doses, the more significant the danger. 

THC, the cannabinoid in marijuana that gets users high, can cause drivers to slip into the other driver’s lane, have delayed responses with traffic directions, and disregard speed. A driver with a high THC level is more prone to cause an accident than someone sober. 

Smoking weed affects the individual’s focus and perceptions when it comes to time and speed, reaction times, and remembering driving rules. While under the influence, users are more apt for risk-taking behavior, and they severely lack auto coordination and visual functionality, which are crucial when operating a vehicle.

While driving high from cannabis is unsafe, the act of holding your breath after taking the hit can be a significant distraction in itself. There’s considerable concentration going into the smoke and retaining that drag in the mouth for as long as possible. However, every second, attention to the roadway is vital when operating a car. 

When you’re attempting to do two things at once, like lighting a joint and operating a vehicle, your mind wonders, especially when it’s becoming impaired, the most dangerous concept is that these individuals don’t realize when they’re becoming distracted until an accident occurs, either with another vehicle or an unsuspecting pedestrian.


The influence of cannabis affects a driver’s ability to focus or adequately respond to hazards, making them twice as susceptible to accidents. In comparison, when someone is drunk on alcohol, the likelihood of a crash can be drastically worse at high speeds. 

The results depend vastly on the driver’s behavior and their level of impairment. Someone driving under the influence of alcohol will be aggressive, overly confident, and prone to speeding when the alcohol effects are at their height.

With cannabis high in full effect, the user will be more slow-moving and distracted. Neither drinking or smoking is better nor worse than the other; one is aggressive, while the other is distracted. The consensus is that when impaired from any substance under any circumstances, you should not get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. 

Impairment of any kind can lead to severe consequences for you and everyone driving or walking around you. 

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