Alcohol + Driving + Simulation
What's the significance of alcohol + driving + simulation? Namely this: state-of-the-art driving simulators
provide life-like driving experiences while reproducing the outside driving conditions and duplicating the
operation of a vehicle in unusual situations (such as "driving under the influence" of alcohol or drugs).
Without these driving simulators, it would be extremely difficult to discover accurate and relevant
information about driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The Beneficial Aspects of Driving Simulators
Driving simulators create an opportunity to train and evaluate existing or new drivers as they complete a wide
variety of multifaceted simulated exercises and activities.
For instance, highly realistic "scenes" can be part of the process so that drivers can be feel part of the total
Not only this, but top-flight driving simulators can provide information about driving while the person is
"under the influence of alcohol" without actually using real alcohol.
In a word, the incorporation of quality visual and audio systems help make the driving experience as realistic
In addition, the better driving simulators can be programmed to move in such a manner that they replicate
driving tasks such as braking, acceleration, driving up inclines or down declines, and driving under various
The Simulation of Weather Effects
Simulated scenes can produce varying weather effects such as sun, fog, rain, or snow with the click of a button
and can repeatedly produce occurrences such as a tire blow-out. Current simulation experts are working on
replicating the following driving situations:
- A person driving after consuming alcohol
- The results of driving while on a cell phone or under the influence of recreational or prescription
Fairly recently, a simulation manufacturer developed an "impaired driving simulator" for the DUI Task Force of
the Tucson Arizona Police Department.
This "drunk-driving simulator" has a custom interface that will let the user choose the desired level of
impairment. In this scenario, the blood alcohol concentration level that is chosen will be displayed to the driver
and a driving exercise will start.
The driving simulator can be calibrated to replicate the effects of driving while impaired. This can be done,
for instance, by increasing the time delays between steering input and vehicle response and also narrowing the
driving scene to mirror the "tunnel vision" typically experienced by highly impaired drivers.
Other Driving Simulation Research
Even though alcohol consumption and sleepiness are separate causes for motor vehicle crashes, research findings
reveal verification of an overlap. For instance, one study found that drivers had consumed some alcohol in nearly
20% of all sleepiness-related, single-vehicle accidents.
In another study, more than 33% of New York State drivers surveyed in drowsy-driving accidents revealed that
they had consumed some alcohol. And according to New York state police reports, fall-asleep accidents with alcohol
involvement occurred more frequently than other types of accidents.
Lab experiments actually predict and explain these patterns. For example, numerous researchers have demonstrated
that alcohol ingestion and sleepiness interact, with sleep deprivation intensifying the sedating properties of
In addition, the combination of both factors negatively affect psychomotor skills more than alcohol consumption
or sleepiness alone.
Driving simulation tests, moreover, demonstrate the relationship between sleepiness and alcohol ingestion even
with low alcohol consumption, low blood alcohol content (BAC) levels, and slight reductions in sleep.
One driving simulation study revealed that BAC levels less than the legal driving limit resulted in more
subjects driving off the road after 4 hours of sleep compared with 8 hours of sleep.
Conclusion: Alcohol + Driving + Simulation
Based on the above discussion of driving simulators, it appears that alcohol + driving + simulation equals a
realistic form of training and experimentation that can provide a wealth of information that would be almost
impossible to capture in live driving situations.
In conclusion, alcohol + driving + simulation = a safe an effective way to measure driving situations (such as
driving while impaired or driving "under the influence" of alcohol or drugs) that are difficult, if not impossible
to calculate in real life driving conditions.