It’s common knowledge that driving while stoned is exponentially safer than driving while drunk. But a new study states that since high drivers have a tendency to cruise at a slower pace, marijuana users may in fact be safer drivers than sober ones.
While the former fact is not a novel one, the auto insurance quote provider 4AutoInsuranceQuote.org compiled a list that uses historical evidence to show the 10 reasons that tokers could be the best drivers on the road.
1. Drivers who had been using marijuana were found to drive slower, according to a 1983 study done by U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). This was seen as a factor in their favor, since drivers who drank alcohol usually drove faster and that is part of the reason they had accidents.
2. Marijuana users were able to drive straight and not have any trouble staying in their own lanes when driving on the highway, according to a NHTSA done in 1993 in the Netherlands. The study determined also that the use of marijuana had very little affect on the person’s overall driving ability.
3. Drivers who had smoked marijuana were shown to be less likely to try to pass other cars and to drive at a consistent speed, according to a University of Adelaide study done in Australia. The study showed no danger unless the drivers had also been drinking alcohol.
4. Drivers high on marijuana were also shown to be less likely to drive in a reckless fashion, according to a study done in 2000 in the UK by the UK Transport Research Lab. The study was done using driver on driving simulators over a period of a month and was actually undertaken to show that pot was a cause for impairment, but instead it showed the opposite and confirmed that these drivers were actually much safer than some of the other drivers on the road.
5. States that allow the legal use of marijuana for medical reasons are noticing less traffic fatalities; for instance, in Colorado and Montana there has been a nine percent drop in traffic fatalities and a five percent drop in beer sales.
The conclusion was that using marijuana actually has helped save lives! Medical marijuana is allowed in 16 states in the U.S.
6. Low doses of marijuana in a person’s system was found by tests in Canada in 2002 to have little effect on a person’s ability to drive a car, and that these drivers were in much fewer car crashes than alcohol drinkers.
7. Most marijuana smokers have fewer crashes because they don’t even drive in the first place and just stay home thus concluded more than one of these tests on pot smoking and driving.
8. Marijuana smokers are thought to be more sober drivers. Traffic information from 13 states where medical marijuana is legal showed that these drivers were actually safer and more careful than many other drivers on the road.
9. Multiple studies showed that marijuana smokers were less likely to be risk takers than those that use alcohol. The studies showed that the marijuana calmed them down and made them actually pay more attention to their abilities.
10. Marijuana smoking drivers were shown to drive at prescribed following distances, which made them less likely to cause or have crashes.
Many of these bullet points are fairly obvious observations. Common sense dictates that a relaxing plant has a more calming affect on someone’s potential road rage. Both alcohol and cannabis stimulate senses–just in extremely different ways.
When you’re drunk, you become carefree and relatively ignorant of your actions. While your body speeds up and becomes more aggressive, everything around you slows down. As the CEO of 4AutoInsurance points out, when you’re driving 80 mph, it may feel like 30 mph.
When you’re stoned, you become relaxed but more importantly, very aware of your surroundings. While your body slows down, everything around you speeds up. So driving at 30 mph may indeed feel like 80 mph.
As for stoned individuals versus sober ones, that’s a bit harder to grasp. On one hand, when you’re stoned, because your senses are heightened, you have a tendency to constantly check your surroundings. Whenever I’m driving high, I tend to feel like I’m checking my blind spots every 30 seconds–which is, I guess, a good thing. But if I’m too stoned, it sometimes feels like there’s constantly a car cutting into my lane and I become even too passive of a driver.
If you smoke too much and are on the edge of sleep or dementia because of it, cannabis becomes detrimental to your driving ability. But if you have a strong tolerance and are an experienced driver, it’s more than feasible that weed can, by relaxing you, actually make you a more cautious and safe driver.
Could a sober driver who gets frustrated easily in traffic, is always in a rush, and tends to swerve in and out of lanes benefit from a puff before they get behind the wheel? Certainly, cause when you’re high, the last thing in the world you want is to get pulled over. You thus drive more cautiously.
Put it in perspective. A drunk person will oftentimes act like a bumbling buffoon with no regard for those around him or her. A stoned individual is typically aware of their actions, to the point that anxiety can set in. This type of person likes to sit back and take in their surroundings, and go with the flow.
Which of these types of people do you think would drive safer?