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How to Stay Safe on the Road by Avoiding Impaired Driving

CAA’s latest campaign, “Do Anything But Drive,” cautions against cannabis consumption and driving

The view through a car windshield is distorted to mimic the experience of an impaired driver

While we’re all aware that alcohol-impaired driving can be deadly, we should also take the same attitude towards cannabis-impaired driving. Drugs, like alcohol, have varying effects from person to person. It takes longer for cannabis edibles to be absorbed into a person’s bloodstream, which means that the active ingredients can remain in your system for up to 12 hours. This affect your reaction times, coordination and judgement, all of which affect your ability to drive.

The rise of cannabis consumption

Many people don't associate the same risks of driving under the influence of cannabis as with those of driving while drunk. This could be chalked up to several reasons, not the least of which is the novelty of cannabis now being readily available for purchase. Edibles became legal in Canada about a year ago and are the second most popular way of consuming cannabis (smoking is the first).

The delayed effects of edibles

Still, they’re not something that should be mixed with driving. Unlike inhaling, edibles often take longer to metabolize in the body, creating a risky situation in which someone might get behind the wheel only to experience a high while driving. This could put other drivers and their passengers in danger, not to mention serious fines, having your licence suspended or your vehicle impounded and possible jail time if convicted while under the influence of cannabis, alcohol or other drugs.

Changing Gen Z perceptions

A CAA poll found that one-fifth of 18 to 24 year olds said they had either driven high or been in a vehicle with a driver who was high. And while Gen Z recognizes the dangers of drunk driving, they don’t associate the same dangers of driving while high. As such, CAA has launched an awareness campaign targeted at Gen Z drivers entitled “Do Anything But Drive.” The message is simple: if you've consumed cannabis edibles, do anything but get behind the wheel. Go ahead and dance, play games or sleep on the couch. Just don't touch the car.

While CAA isn’t judging those who consume cannabis—it is a legal product afterall—they’re simply asking that those who do consume it, or alcohol or other drugs for that matter, plan ahead by making alternate arrangements, such as using a rideshare service, to get home safely.

While there may be fewer in-person gatherings this year, with the holidays approaching, celebrations may include edibles as well as alcohol. If you choose to consume either cannabis or alcohol, make sure you don’t drive. RIDE spot checks will be conducted by police throughout the holiday season to ensure that everyone is safe on the roads.

Click here to learn more about CAA’s “Do Anything But Drive” campaign.

Image credit: unsplash.com/Oliur