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Driver error causes more than 90% of highway crashes. Your ability to drive safely depends not only on what you know, but how you feel and what you were doing before you climbed behind the wheel.
Your Mood Affects Your Driving
If you're upset, let someone else drive.
You should also be aware of how getting behind the wheel can affect your behavior. Taking control of the power and speed of a car often reveals a person's character. You soon see whether you're inclined to be a bully, a thoughtless lawbreaker, or a reliable and courteous driver. To drive safely, you must find the maturity to share the road and help your fellow travelers.
Fatigue and Highway Hypnosis
On long trips, exercise your eyes as you drive. Freeway drivers often suffer "highway hypnosis" - drowsiness brought on by monotony and the drone of wind and tires. Keep shifting your eyes from one area of the roadway to another and focus them on various objects - near and far, left and right. Even reading road signs can help you stay awake.
Drinking and Driving
In recent years, the public has demanded that this carnage be reduced. Lawmakers, including those in Idaho, have responded by passing tougher laws on driving under the influence of alcohol. You can avoid accidents and serious legal problems by not driving when you have been drinking.
How Drinking Affects You
After two to four drinks, alcohol begins to impair your reaction time, coordination and balance. Your vision and ability to judge distance suffers, too, making it harder to react to dangers ahead.
In heavy doses, alcohol can be a mood changer producing sudden shifts in mood all the way from elation to anger. Studies show a combination of alcohol and anger is responsible for much of the reckless, aggressive driving that often causes fatal highway crashes.
Food can slow down the absorption of alcohol. This delaying action prevents large amounts of alcohol from going to your head immediately. But, if you drink a lot, eating won't prevent a high blood alcohol concentration.
If alcohol is already in your bloodstream, neither aspirin, black coffee, deep breathing, a slap in the face, exercise, nor eating will sober you up. Only time will return you to normal.
How Much is Too Much?
The only scientific way to check how your drinking affects you is by testing for alcohol concentration, which can be done by testing your breath or blood.
Alcohol concentration is determined by three factors: how much you've drunk, how much you weigh, and the passage of time.
If you drink enough to increase your alcohol concentration past .05, be careful. At slightly above .05, the risk of causing an accident doubles. At .10, the risk is six times as great. At .15, the risk is 25 times as great.
Idaho Law and Drunken Driving
If you're convicted, the penalties are:
Alcohol Tests and the Law
When you accept an Idaho driver's license, you give your implied consent
to take an alcohol concentration test if arrested for driving under the
influence. When arrested, you may refuse to take the test, but if you
do, your license will be seized by the arresting officer. The officer
may issue you a temporary driving permit good for 7 days; giving you the
opportunity to request a hearing through the court or until a hearing
is held on the seizure of your license if you requested a hearing. If
the court upholds the officer's findings, your license will be suspended
for 180 days for refusing to take the alcohol concentration test if it is
your first offense. This penalty is in addition to any penalty you receive
in court for an alcohol or drug-related conviction. A second refusal within
five years will result in a one-year suspension. These suspensions do not
provide for restricted privileges of any kind.
For additional DMV information, contact Driver Services via e-mail at: ITDDriverRecords@itd.idaho.gov