EFFECTS OF CARBON MONOXIDE
It’s essential that we cover an important topic about the effects of carbon monoxide from the exhaust system. If you should have a bad exhaust system, in some cases a warning is given by way of a loud noise. In other cases, with fairly good systems, a small leak may not inform or warn the driver.
Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and cannot be seen. The symptoms it causes are sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, ringing in the ears and nausea. The visual symptoms would be the same as for someone who was intoxicated by alcohol. If you were to overlook these warnings and be overcome by carbon monoxide, you would just go to sleep and never wake up again. There is no pain associated with this process.
What actually happens is, the carbon monoxide is accepted 300 times faster than oxygen into the bloodstream (replaces the oxygen), and the victim suffocates and dies from the lack of oxygen. Since the windows in our vehicles are closed year round, because of air conditioners and heaters, the threat is always there, especially in heavy traffic or when parked or stopped with the motor running.
Partially opening the window may not be a solution to this problem. In fact, a good example - two persons were found overcome by carbon monoxide on the Washington Beltway (495) with their windows completely open.
If you feel these symptoms coming on, get out of the vehicle and get fresh air into the lungs. It takes about 15 to 30 minutes to flush the carbon monoxide out of your system." "
ALCOHOL AND DRUGS
EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL
You have already read some information on the subject of alcohol. You are now going to spend some more time on this very important subject. You will also learn some important information about drugs.
You should know that it's against the law to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol/drugs. But it cannot be emphasized too strongly that the interaction between Law Enforcement, Judicial and Administrative branches of government are sending us a message that to ignore this is no longer acceptable. Those of you who either fail to understand or choose to ignore the meaning of this message will very quickly find yourself deprived of the privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this State along with some other unpleasant effects. It is hoped that when you leave this program, you will realize that drinking or using drugs and then driving is a very dangerous matter. Moreover, the basic information we will share will be information that will benefit you, your family, and friends. It is current information obtained from the best professional sources.
ALCOHOL IN THE SYSTEM
The following will give you an idea of how alcohol works in your system, how long it takes to leave the body and when you should or should not be getting into the car to drive. Keep in mind that alcohol is considered a drug and they both go through the system very similarly. Alcohol affects different people in different ways. Many feel relaxed and sociable. Others may become angry or lose control. Still others may become depressed.
Alcohol lowers the ability of the brain to control behavior and impairs the ability to drive. It also lessens the ability to move or speak effectively. Effects will be different for each individual because of weight, amount of food in stomach, and built-up tolerance level.
Dependence can be emotional as well as physical. Unborn children of drinking mothers may be affected by mental retardation. FACT: It's estimated that one in ten Americans has an alcohol-dependency problem. Of all the drugs in the world, alcohol is a top killer.
LOSE CONTROL OF BODY FUNCTIONS
First of all, alcohol will not affect you until it gets into your bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, it circulates through all the organs of the body and also depresses the central nervous system. Then you lose control of the functions of your body, and most important, the functions needed to operate a motor vehicle safely. (i.e., alertness, efficiency, judgment, coordination, the way you see things, etc.)
Alcohol is absorbed almost immediately into the bloodstream the instant you take a drink. It does not have to be through the normal digestive system. In fact, 20% to 40% of that alcohol will be absorbed into the bloodstream before it gets into the digestive system. This is why you feel its effects immediately after you have a drink.
The remainder of the alcohol - 60% to 80% will travel through the normal digestive system.
GETTING INTO THE BLOODSTREAM
How long it takes for the alcohol to get into the bloodstream depends on several factors. If the stomach is empty, the alcohol will get there faster and in higher concentrations. If there is food in the stomach, it depends on the amount. The more food, the longer it would take to digest, since the food will absorb the alcohol.
Once in the bloodstream there are only three ways it can be eliminated; approximately 2% is eliminated through the lungs (odor of breath), 3% through the urine, and about 95% is burned up (oxidized) by the liver. Alcohol differs from food in that food can be stored into fat and used at a later time. But alcohol cannot be stored into fat and will circulate in the bloodstream until it is eliminated in the three ways mentioned.
The average person eliminates alcohol at the rate of .015% per hour. This is equivalent to the amount of alcohol contained in 1 oz. of 100 proof whiskey; or one 12 ounce can of beer; or one 4 oz. glass of table wine. There is no way to hasten this process. Only time will take care of this problem.
If you are tired, sick, sleepy, or have emotional problems, you would be affected more so if you consume alcohol.
One very important factor to remember is body weight. When talking about an average person, we’re talking about a 150 pound person. Let’s go to the more extreme and compare a healthy 200 pound person with a healthy 100 pound person.
Alcohol is distributed in the water of the body and of course we are mainly interested with the alcohol in the bloodstream. The bloodstream is made up of 78% water.
Every person has approximately one pint of blood for every 14 pounds of body weight. This means a 200 pound person has about twice as much water in their bloodstream as the 100 pound person, and what they drink would be diluted in half, in comparison. The 200 pound person could drink twice as much as the person weighing 100 pounds, have about the same percent of alcohol in the bloodstream, and be equally impaired.
"I CAN HANDLE IT"
"Don’t worry, I can handle it. Been doing it for years and never had an accident." You've probably heard somebody say that. It may have even been someone you know. Some people have been driving so long that they think they can do it in their sleep. In fact they may have driven home without remembering how they got there. They were just lucky! Some day that luck will run out. Everyone shows the effects of too much alcohol, even the "pro".
Eight professional race car drivers took part in a scientific study to find out how much alcohol it takes to affect driving skills. They were all put through a test simulating driving in traffic. The best of these professionals made seven mistakes when he was sober. After three drinks, he made twenty-two mistakes. None of the professionals did as well after drinking.
Having had only two or three drinks, these were some of the mistakes they made:
- Could not keep the car in line
- Drove too fast
- Could not judge distance
- Did not adjust speed when roadway pattern changed
- Ran traffic lights and stop signs
- Made panic stops that were not necessary