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Driving while high: A safety issue threatening California drivers

California readers know it is dangerous to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Like alcohol, certain drugs can cause both cognitive and physical impairments, leading to an increased chance of a car accident. Even certain prescription drugs can be dangerous to consume before driving.

Regardless of the type of drug or the reason for taking it, every driver is responsible for knowing when he or she cannot safely drive. If you were hurt in an accident that happened because of a drugged driver, you have rights. Like drunk drivers, it is possible to hold drugged drivers accountable for any damages caused by their decisions.

Drugs lead to dangerous driving

Marijuana is a rather common recreational drug, and despite the fact that many people do not consider this to be a risky or illicit drug, it can be quite dangerous. A person who used marijuana may experience the following issues that could affect his or her driving:

  • Delayed reaction
  • Difficulty recognizing dangers and hazards in the road
  • Lack of physical coordination and muscle control

While a driver who ingested marijuana may feel capable of driving, the fact is that he or she could be placing others at risk of unnecessary injuries or even death. Other types of drugs have a tendency to make drivers more aggressive, such as methamphetamine or cocaine. Drivers on these drugs may experience the following reactions:

  • Aggressive driving
  • Reckless behaviors
  • Irresponsible choices behind the wheel

Even certain prescription drugs used for the appropriate treatment of a valid medical condition can have a dangerous effect on a driver. For example, sedatives, painkillers and sleep medications can make a driver dangerously drowsy.

How a certain drug will affect a specific driver depends on his or her medical condition, health, age, body composition and multiple other factors. Ultimately, a person is responsible for acknowledging when he or she cannot safely operate a vehicle.

What should victims of drugged driving do?

Drugged driving is just as dangerous as distracted driving or drunk driving. You can take action against this irresponsible behavior by acting quickly to protect your rights after an accident.

If you believe a person under the influence of drugs caused your collision, you would be wise to take quick action to seek guidance. A thorough investigation and evaluation of your case can reveal the legal options that may be available to you.

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