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Marijuana and Driving: What you should know

How many times have you heard someone say “I drive better when I’m high”? The fact is that’s just not true. Marijuana can impact the skills needed to drive safely and affect your ability to react, making it unsafe to drive and increasing your chances of a crash.

Just like drunk driving, driving while high is dangerous and can lead to deadly consequences.

  • Driving while high, like drunk driving, is 100% preventable
  • Whether it is marijuana or any impairing drug, drugged driving is a growing problem
  • Marijuana usage impacts the skills needed to drive safely

In addition to affecting your driving abilities, driving while high on marijuana can land you a DUI. A recent Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) survey found that 72 percent of Colorado cannabis consumers thought it was safer to drive under the influence of marijuana than under the influence of alcohol.

But these numerous studies done by the Centers for Disease Control show marijuana can slow your reaction time, lower your ability to make decisions, impair coordination, distort perception, and lead to difficulty in problem-solving.

What can you do to prevent marijuana-impaired driving?

Experts suggest that you should wait 4 hours between the time you consume marijuana and getting behind the wheel, but the better and safer option is to not drive at all. MADD encourages you to plan your evening ahead of time and not taking your car at all, thereby removing the temptation to drive home from your party location. Consider these alternatives to driving while impaired:

  • Designate a member of your group to be the non-consuming designated driver for the evening
  • Utilize Ridesharing services such as Uber to get to your party location and back home
  • Call a taxi or cab service
  • Jump on public transportation – RTD Bus or Light Rail
  • Call a friend or relative for a ride – they may be angry for getting a late-night call, but everyone will be happy that you’re safe

Remember, drugged driving is impaired driving. If you are under the influence of any substance, make the right choice and don’t get behind the wheel.

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Colorado State Patrol Public Affairs