Does alcohol affect a driver’s depth perception?

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

In the U.S., cars injure and kill pedestrians at an alarming rate. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were approximately 7,000 pedestrian fatalities in 2020 alone. This means a person died in an accident involving a motor vehicle basically every 75 seconds that year.

While it certainly is possible for a focused driver to accidentally injure or kill a walker, jogger or runner, impaired drivers carry a significantly larger risk. Regrettably, because alcohol affects depth perception, pedestrians may be in danger even when they are seemingly far away from vehicles.

Alcohol and depth perception

Depth perception, which is a person’s ability to judge distance, is a basic competency all motorists must have. Regrettably, though, drinking alcohol can cause a person’s depth perception to deteriorate quickly.

Drivers with altered depth perception often believe their vehicles are further away from pedestrians than they actually are. This, of course, may cause motorists not to brake or take evasive action within enough time to avoid colliding with pedestrians.

Pedestrian safety

As a pedestrian, you should always try to pay close attention to your surroundings. Still, because it can be difficult to identify impaired drivers when they are moving at highway speeds, it is advisable to stay as far away from moving vehicles as you safely can.  Generally, this involves using sidewalks instead of walking or running on public roadways. If you must walk on the road, you should do so facing oncoming traffic.

While you can take steps to protect yourself from potentially impaired drivers, you can never completely eliminate the danger to your physical safety. Ultimately, to improve your odds of recovering fully from any injuries you suffer, it may be critical to pursue financial compensation from the impaired driver.