We’ve all been there, laying on a friend’s couch, butting out that last joint of the night and contemplating driving high.
It isn’t like alcohol, right?
Well, I’d hate to be a “Negative Nancy”, but cannabis or particularly THC (read more about the Cannabis ABCs here) isn’t the best chemical to mix with an activity that requires hand-eye coordination.Andrew Macfarlane – not a medical professional.
This being said, it’s way more complicated than a single statement. Let’s get into it, shall we!
Driving Drunk Vs High
Let’s just get this out the way. Driving drunk is a dumb idea. If you’re still “undecided” about this statement, YOU ARE AN IDIOT.
The South African Police Services (SAPS) 2018/2019 crime statistics report showed that there were 82,912 reported cases of drunk-driving. This figure only takes into account those arrested.
Alcohol reduces your coordination skills while boosting confidence levels. These changes can take place with a relatively small amount of alcohol.
Or, how the research paper, The Effect of Cannabis Compared with Alcohol on Driving put it:
“Alcohol impairs pursuit tracking, divided attention, signal detection, hazard perception, reaction time, attention, concentration, and hand-eye coordination.”THE EFFECT OF CANNABIS COMPARED WITH ALCOHOL ON DRIVING
In layman’s terms:
- you can’t regulate how drunk you are;
- you don’t get better at ball skills;
- you’re less observant,
- and finally, you’re more likely to climb onto the table and do a striptease at your friend’s child’s 1st birthday.
While in the case of marijuana, it does impair certain reflexes, but where it differs most is “hazard perception”.
“…unlike drivers under the influence of alcohol, who tend to underestimate their degree of impairment, marijuana users tend to overestimate their impairment, and consequently employ compensatory strategies.THE EFFECT OF CANNABIS COMPARED WITH ALCOHOL ON DRIVING
Simply put, you know when you’ve smoked too much, and you fully understand that showing your junk to a crowd of tiny-tots is a terrible idea. Playing ball games is not a thing you want to do.
This being said, we all know what a drunk driver looks like, and if the figures from the SAPS are anything to go by, half the people driving at night are drunk.
So, what does a stoned driver look like on the road?
How Stoned Drivers Drive
Overly medicated cannabis users are cautious individuals behind the wheel.
In the simulated driving tests, characteristics included:
- Overestimating danger and breaking very early;
- Slower driving speeds;
- Poor lane choice;
- Lack of overtaking;
- Large following distances;
- Sudden lane changes;
- And poor actual danger detection.
While on the surface, drunk drivers are obviously the worst, being stoned is only marginally better.
Not being able to make decisions with 100% clarity can mean the difference between pulling into a lane with a truck or not.
Also, as mentioned, South Africa has a drunk driving problem. So, if you’re an overcautious stoned driver on the road, there’s at a fleet of unruly drunk drivers making hundreds of fast and poor decisions.
And for those sitting in the back of the imaginary classroom thinking,
Whatever! They can’t test me for cannabis and THC at the roadside! So, shove it!The disobedient cannabis enthusiast
You’re wrong! Watch me pull out another FACT!
Fact: Police Can Test For Dagga
Testing for THC has always been a difficult process. It involves urine, waiting hours, and a lab of people.
Also, this test only indicates if you’ve smoked in the last month!
But there is now a new THC saliva test. The results of the screening can be processed fairly quickly and indicate if you have THC in your system.
Some tests, there are various versions, can tell if you’ve consumed cannabis in the last three hours.
Now that you know all the facts about driving high, don’t do it!
Cannabis Driving Conclusion
If you don’t have the funds for the ride, just sleep on a couch or at the closest backpackers.
And a generalisation, you don’t want to talk or deal with the police. Just smoke at home.
Words by: Andrew Macfarlane, writer, gardener, and police-phobic.
z00tly says: “Yeah, I think I’m just going to smoke at home, on the third branch, in my tree.”