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Caffeine does not necessarily improve driving performance

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2024 | Car Accidents

Caffeine is one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States. Some people scoff at the categorization of caffeine as a drug. However, there is little question that caffeine affects someone’s functional abilities and cognition.

Caffeine is absolutely a drug even if it is not subject to the same regulations as other substances like alcohol. Many people rely on caffeine for daily tasks. They need that burst of energy in the morning to get moving. They may also rely on caffeine if they stay out unusually late one evening. Some people even use caffeine as a means of improving their performance at the wheel. Yet, contrary to what many people assume, caffeine does not improve driving ability.

Caffeine has negative side effects

While caffeine does help increase someone’s alertness and may affect their ability to focus, it does not necessarily have a net positive impact on driving ability. High levels of caffeine use can make people jittery. They may have a hard time focusing on the road ahead of them.

They could also develop symptoms that make them anxious, like a racing heartbeat. Those symptoms can serve as a distraction from safe driving. Particularly in scenarios where people rely on caffeine as a crutch to help them stay awake for a long drive, as is common with commercial motorists, they may experience more negative side effects than they expect when ingesting large amounts of caffeine.

Caffeine does not help people sober up quickly

Another misconception about caffeine is the mistaken belief that it helps people sober up after they have consumed too much alcohol. This belief stems from the way that caffeine can make someone temporarily feel more alert and can improve their focus. Despite someone’s belief that caffeine may help them sober up, nothing actually counters the effect of alcohol on the human body.

The only way to actually become sober again is to give the body adequate time to metabolize the alcohol consumed. Those who drink a few cups of coffee or an energy drink before getting behind the wheel may overestimate their driving ability and could cause a crash as a result.

Fatigued and drunk drivers can be very dangerous for others on the road, and caffeine consumption does not necessarily improve their situation. Those injured by drivers who cause crashes due to exhaustion or impairment may have complicated insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits ahead of them.

Holding others accountable for causing motor vehicle collisions can help people limit the economic harm they must absorb when a preventable wreck results in injuries. Those who rely on caffeine to offset their other poor safety choices could end up causing a preventable wreck, and may end up being held to account accordingly.