Centre for Road Safety

Dangerous state of mind

Cannabis – marijuana, weed, hash

Cannabis slows down your reactions and reduces your ability to respond to situations. The drug changes your perception of distance and time, lowers your concentration, reduces coordination and makes you drowsy.

Cannabis users often don’t realise their driving is affected until they are faced with an unexpected situation. It is only after they in danger that they realise they are incapable of making a quick or correct decision.

Stimulants – speed, ecstasy, cocaine

If you take stimulants such as ecstasy, cocaine or any form of amphetamine (speed, crystal meth, base) you are likely to:

  • Believe you drive better than you actually can
  • Drive aggressively and take more risks
  • Be overstimulated and lose concentration
  • Have blurry or limited vision
  • See things on the road that aren’t where you think they are

Driving when you’re coming down is also dangerous, when the effects of the stimulants wearing off can be just as damaging to your coordination and ability to concentrate. You may also fall asleep at the wheel.

Opiates – heroin, methadone, codeine

Using heroin and other opiates such as morphine, codeine and methadone:

  • Makes you sleepy
  • Slows your reaction times
  • Makes you lose balance, coordination and concentration
  • Reduces your ability to pay attention to what’s happening on the road

Combining alcohol and opiates multiplies the depressant effects of both drugs, even if only small quantities are used. You will feel drowsy, uncoordinated and be more at risk of falling asleep at the wheel.

Other illegal drugs also affect your driving. Do not drive if you have taken any illegal drugs.