Is Driving While High More Dangerous than Driving Drunk?

Kellis Is Driving While High More Dangerous than Driving Drunk

In October 2018, the YouTube channel Try Guys published two videos: one of them driving while high, and one of them driving while drunk. They tested their inebriated driving abilities on a closed course. The purpose of these videos was to specifically check how both driving drunk and driving while high affected the driver’s senses, reaction time and confidence.

The tests were set up as such: First, the drivers maneuvered through the course completely sober. The course is full of normal obstacles you may find on the road every day, such as stop signs, lane closures and hairpin turns.

They looked at two initial variables: how long it took to complete the course, and how many cones were knocked over. These tests were the control for the experiment.

Then, the drivers became legally inebriated (drinking to at least a 0.08 blood alcohol content for one video, and smoking enough marijuana to feel “stoned” in the other), and drove the course again. That produced results that were… well, let’s just say the results were interesting.

As Pennsylvania DUI lawyers, we never recommend driving if you have any kind of drugs in your system. Doing so is illegal, but more importantly, doing so is dangerous to both yourself and those around you.

However, we also believe this was a very interesting test, and the results are worth reviewing.

NOTE: These tests were conducted on a closed course with medical professionals standing by. DO NOT try this yourself. There’s a reason it’s illegal. Also note that these videos contain language you may find offensive; view at your own discretion.

Video #1: Driving Drunk

In this video, a police officer explains what officers look for in suspected drunk drivers, and an addiction specialist explained how alcohol affects the body, especially as drinkers approach the legal limit.

Each of the drivers took Breathalyzer tests, as well as sobriety field tests. Then, when it was determined they were sufficiently drunk, they got behind the wheel of the car.

The results were sobering.

Each of the Try Guys took their turn driving inebriated, and they committed a wide variety of infractions. Cones were taken down, they both sped and drove too slow, they reversed through intersections and they even hit a surprise stuffed dog that came through the road on a skateboard. At one point, one driver left the course altogether and hit a barrier.

In short, their reaction times and decision making was heavily impaired, and they struggled to navigate the same course they successfully navigated while sober just a couple hours before — even though they were incredibly confident when they got behind the wheel. The drivers weren’t able to remember the details of the drunk drive.

Video #2: Driving While High

NOTE: The Try Guys live in California, where recreational marijuana is now legal. Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Pennsylvania.

Much like in the last video, a police officer and an addiction doctor are featured in this video, explaining how marijuana works and the dangers of driving after smoking marijuana. Because there’s no real way to determine if someone is legally high, the Try Guys smoked until they determined they felt high.

After taking field sobriety tests to make sure they were high, the driver hit the course.

A few of the drivers drove way too cautiously and slowly, sometimes stopping altogether on the track. Despite popular belief, driving too cautiously can be just as dangerous as driving recklessly.

Driving too slowly affects other drivers around you, and can cause accidents. Perhaps worse, high drivers who are overly cautious can panic if they make a small mistake, causing them to make more and more drastic mistakes.

Which Was Worse?

Altogether, more mistakes were made when the Try Guys were drunk than when they were high. But the drivers still made plenty of mistakes while high that could be deadly on the road. Driving while under any kind of influence was obviously shown to impair driving ability in a drastic way.

In addition, when it comes to driving high, everyone had a different reaction to marijuana. A couple of the Try Guys smoked more frequently in their own lives, so they didn’t feel as high. Even so, they made crucial errors when they drove the course. It’s clear that even if someone doesn’t feel high after using marijuana, they can still cause serious accidents.

How Pennsylvania’s Laws Come into Play

Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Pennsylvania. However, even if you have a permit to use medical marijuana, driving while high is still illegal. You can be arrested for DUI and face stiff penalties, even if it’s your first offense.

When it comes to driving drunk, you probably know that .08 BAC is the legal limit. But did you know you can be arrested for DUI even if you’re under that limit? If you’ve had a “sufficient amount of alcohol such that the individual is rendered incapable of safely driving,” even if you’re under the limit, it’s considered drunk driving.

And as the Try Guys know, you don’t have to be at the legal limit to feel drunk (again, this video contains language you may find offensive. But, it is highly educational):

So what can you do? It’s simple, really: If you’ve consumed any kind of drugs, whether it’s alcohol or marijuana, DO NOT DRIVE! Call an Uber, stay the night if you’re at a party, or find some other safe way home.

Talk to a Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer Today

If you are arrested for drunk driving, you do have legal options. At the Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis, our Pennsylvania DUI attorneys are here to help you. Give us a call today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options with an experienced attorney.