Do you know the risks of using cannabis and getting behind the wheel?

Are you one of the many people who believe that driving high is less dangerous than driving drunk?

f so, think again: you are more than twice as likely to get into an accident if you consume marijuana before getting behind the wheel.

Driving and pot: 4 reasons why they don’t mix 

We already know the risks posed by alcohol: poor coordination, impaired reflexes, drowsiness… but what about marijuana? Whether you call it cannabis, weed, or pot, the effects of marijuana aren't always fun and games. Just like this drug can affect the way you interact with your friends, it can also change the way you interact with the road – for the worse!
Made up of more than 500 different ingredients, it’s no wonder that modern weed doesn’t provide quite the same experience as it did in the days of Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles. In order for you to better understand the dangers of driving high, we put together a short list of cognitive and motor abilities that become impaired when you smoke up. 

1. Shorter attention span 

When you smoke pot, your focus and attention are never operating at 100% efficiency – you’re much more easily distracted. It’s kind of like when you’re texting your crush and the world around you fades into silence: getting behind the wheel while under the influence of marijuana means you'll be completely inside your own head. You won’t be focused on what’s happening on the road, nor will you be alert enough to react to any unexpected occurrences.

2. Swift as an elephant 

Your body longer responds in the same way when you’re high: your posture begins to change, as does the way in which you move. Packing more than 12 times the THC content compared to the 1960’s, you shouldn't even be crowdsurfing at Osheaga if you've been smoking pot. The impact it has on your coordination is unavoidable – tomorrow’s bruises will be proof enough!

3. Impaired decision-making

Another undesirable effect of marijuana: it alters your ability to make proper decisions. At some point or another, everyone has regretted something they said or did the day before. An incriminating photo on Instagram? Verbal sparring with a friend? Whether you've been drinking or smoking up, your brain is operating in slow-mo. Smoking and driving is an undeniably irresponsible choice: certain things that might seem like a great idea may actually be putting you in a dangerous situation.

4. Delayed reaction time 

One Mississippi,
two Mississippi,
three Mississippi…

Last but not least – reaction time.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, this advertisement, which was viewed over 40,000 times, is without a doubt one of the most impactful SAAQ campaigns that addresses driving high. It features one joint, two young men, and a captain that counts the seconds between action and reaction to demonstrate how this ability is impaired under the influence of pot. It goes without saying that given these pronounced delays, you’d be better off avoiding situations that require sharp reflexes – like driving.

Although marijuana will soon be legal in Canada, driving under the influence of the drug will not be permitted given its impact on your motor and cognitive skills. Luckily, a number of alternatives are available if you're looking to get around in a state of altered consciousness. These 5 simple tips are sure to pass on a few good ideas for getting from point A to point B during your next night out. As the article points out, why not leave your transportation to a super-practical service like Cool Taxi, or the designated drivers at Point Zero 8?

​Other blog articles that may interest you

5 ways to prevent fatigue at the wheel
Driving while impaired: 5 ideas to go places in a responsible manner
The safety corridor: What do we do

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