How Does Marijuana Use Affect Driving?

Person smoking weed while driving; breaking marijuana driving laws.

Marijuana is the most commonly used substance in the United States that is prohibited by federal law, with an estimated 48.2 million users in 2019 alone. Marijuana use is increasing in the United States as more states legalize it for medical and recreational purposes. When users are caught driving under the influence of marijuana, concerns about marijuana’s effect on driving arise.

In post-crash testing, marijuana is the most frequently reported substance after alcohol. While the effects of marijuana may differ from those of alcohol, they nonetheless impact a person’s ability to drive, making it risky to do so. DUI offenses in Florida are punishable by harsh fines and even lifelong repercussions. To avoid a conviction or excessively harsh penalties, it is vital to have a knowledgeable drug DUI lawyer on your side.

Marijuana’s Effect on Your Driving Ability

Research shows a clear link between blood THC concentration and poor driving performance. The parts of your brain that regulate balance, coordination, memory, and judgment are affected by marijuana. The use of marijuana can compromise the crucial abilities needed for safe driving.

Driving while under the influence of marijuana can cause the following:

  • Decreased response time
  • Impaired judgment 
  • Reduced coordination
  • Altered perception

Driving is a demanding activity that needs your complete focus and full capabilities to keep you and others safe on the road. There are numerous factors you have to pay attention to and look out for when you’re behind the wheel. The most important skills a driver can have are the ability to stay focused and aware of their surroundings, and these skills can be inhibited by marijuana use.

The Dangers of Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Laws against driving under the influence (DUI) often also apply to marijuana. Driving while high on any substance, including marijuana, is dangerous and against the law. Though there is always room for more research, studies have linked acute marijuana use to an increased risk of auto accidents.

Because of the way marijuana impairs your driving ability, you are more likely to react slowly to road hazards while under the influence. With impaired coordination and perception, you may not be able to drive as you usually would when you’re sober. You may also have difficulty maneuvering your vehicle. In addition, other drivers may have difficulty predicting your driving decisions.

Other Common Effects of Marijuana Use

The psychoactive component, THC, found in marijuana affects the parts of the brain that regulate balance, coordination, memory, and judgment. As a result, marijuana may impair decision-making, motor coordination, and reaction time. It may also cause memory loss, perception distortion, and trouble solving problems in large doses. However, the effects of marijuana use can vary significantly from person to person.

Hire a Knowledgeable Marijuana DUI Lawyer in Florida

Because marijuana use is on the rise in the U.S., this substance is often blamed when found in accident victims’ systems. DUI charges in Florida carry stiff fines and potentially permanent consequences. When facing a DUI arrest in Florida, it is crucial to have an experienced drug DUI attorney on your side to prevent a conviction or overly severe penalties. 

With the Law Office of Robert H. Hanaford on your side, you may have the help you need to build a solid defense and contest the prosecution’s evidence. Attorney Robert H. Hanaford is aware of the pressure you are under and has years of expertise fighting complex criminal cases and getting good results for his DUI clients. Call us at (239) 315-9750 or send us a message using our contact form to arrange a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist you.

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