Menu Close

Our Programs & Activities Will Guide Your Teen Through Rehab

Is It Dangerous to Drive After Smoking Pot?

Would you drive after having too much to drink at a party? Sure, you know better than to get behind the wheel of your car after kicking back a few beers with friends. You would never drive drunk! But what about driving while high? Is it really that dangerous to drive after you’ve smoked a joint? Absolutely: it really is. Drugged driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. You’re putting your own life, the lives of your passengers, and the lives of anyone else on the road in serious risk. Driving while high is like operating a two-ton metal machine and sending it hurtling down the road at 55 mph – all while blindfolded. It’s really that dangerous1.

Why Drugged Driving is Dangerous

Blond woman driving after smoking potYou’ve probably seen a drug commercial on TV before that warns about the dangers of operating heavy machinery after taking a specific medication. Here’s the thing: a car is heavy machinery and operating it after taking drugs – whether these are illegally obtained prescription medications or illicit drugs – is dangerous. Drugs impair your motor skills, reaction time, your ability to pay attention and focus on the road, your balance, your perception and your judgment. Even a small amount of drugs can have a big impact on your driving capabilities2.

Drugs May Affect You Differently, But All Are Dangerous to Driving

While different drugs affect your body in different ways, they all impair the faculties you need to safely operate a motor vehicle. Let’s consider response time and braking distance. Braking distance is how far your car travels after you apply the brakes before the car comes to a full stop. If you’re driving slowly (25 mph) and apply the brakes, you’ll come to a complete stop in about 85 feet. If you’re driving 65 mph and apply the brakes, your car will travel four times as far (344 feet) before stopping.

Drugged driving slows down your response time.

Let’s say you’re approaching an intersection and the car in front of you comes to a sudden stop right before the light changes. If you’re paying attention and fully alert without any drugs in your system, you’ll be able to immediately react and slam on the brakes, stopping in time before you hit the car. But if you’re under the influence of drugs, you’ll lose precious seconds since your reaction time is significantly slower. Your car will continue traveling forward before you finally apply the brakes – decreasing the distance you have to come to a safe stop and increasing the likelihood that you’ll slam into the vehicle in front of you and cause a serious accident3.

Drugged Driving is a Serious Problem: You Can Help Stop It

In 2001, 12 percent of high school seniors admitted to driving under the influence of marijuana in the previous two weeks, according to the “Monitoring the Future” survey4. That’s a pretty shocking statistic! And more than 16 percent of weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2007 National Roadside Survey. Driving with any amount of drugs in the system is considered to be drugged driving.

Driving Is Not a Right: Abuse it and You Lose it

Driving is a privilege, not a right. If you drive drugged, you risk losing your ability to drive again, not to mention potentially killing yourself and others who are on the road. Be part of the solution, not the problem. Learn more about the dangers of drugged driving and what you can do to be a safe, responsible driver. To learn more about the dangers of driving and smoking, give us a call at 877-466-0620.


  1. “What is the Average Weight of a Car?”,
  2. “Drug Facts: Drugged Driving”, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dec 2014,
  3. Virginia Driver’s Manual: Safe Driving, Virginia DMV,
  4. “Drug Facts: Drugged Driving”, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dec 2014,