Tips to Avoid Impaired Driving Charges
Driving while impaired can potentially lead to traffic fines and the loss of driving privileges. Impairment can mean drunk driving, but it is more than alcohol that can cause an officer to initiate a stop. Many seemingly harmless actions can also cause drivers to appear impaired. Here are a few things to think about before getting behind the wheel.
Get More Sleep
Falling asleep while driving or being too tired to react safely to common situations on the road could also cause a stop for impaired driving. Life is often busy, and long work hours or other responsibilities can make it impossible to get enough rest. The law requires every driver to be safe behind the wheel regardless of their schedule.
Look for alternatives to driving home after a long day. Consider public transportation or call someone for a ride. Avoid non-stop road trips when long-distance driving. Either share the driving responsibilities with someone else or plan to stop every few hours to rest and refresh before continuing.
Use Medication Safely
Many over-the-counter and prescription medications make people tired or unable to respond as quickly to outside stimuli. Do not drive immediately after taking any medication. Wait for a few hours or until the effects of the drug wear off. Anyone with a new prescription may want to wait until they have taken a couple of doses before getting behind the wheel, so they know how their medication will affect them.
Watch Your Health
Medical conditions can negatively affect normally safe drivers. Avoid driving if any known health problem exists that could impair your driving ability. Some illnesses may cause people to feel dizzy or lose consciousness, some cause confusion, and others can affect vision. It is necessary to follow the advice of your physician if you’re warned about the safety risks of driving with an illness.
Avoid All Distractions
Distractions can come from many sources. Pets and kids in the vehicle can take the driver’s attention away from the road. Talking on a phone, personal grooming, and eating can also make it difficult to pay attention to navigating a vehicle. Drivers must keep their full attention on the road and the surrounding traffic when behind the wheel.
Distracted driving does not need to lead to an accident to be a problem for the driver. Swerving, driving at an inconsistent speed, or missing a red light or stop sign could look like impaired driving to a police officer. The behavior could cause the officer to initiate a stop that leads to a traffic fine.
Party in Moderation
Many other things can cause impaired driving, but alcohol consumption is a serious concern. Driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher is illegal in North Carolina. The average alcoholic beverage can raise BAC by .02 or more. People process alcohol differently and some people make drinks with more alcohol, so only one or two cocktails could put someone over the limit. Always drink in moderation, call a cab, or choose a reliable designated driver.
Avoid driving after the use of any drug. Despite the loosening of cannabis regulations, moderate amounts can result in a misdemeanor charge and a fine of $200-$1000, based on how much marijuana the police find during a traffic stop. If you’re suspected of driving after using cannabis, you could also get an impaired driving charge.
Traffic stops for impaired driving can seem unfair to a driver who was following the law and not under the influence of any substance. If you believe you were stopped unlawfully or incorrectly charged with driving while impaired, contact us. At the law firm of Carl L. Britt Jr. Attorney at Law, we can help North Carolina drivers that want to protect their driving rights.