Alcohol + Driving + Simulation
Fortunately, 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 atypical situations, such as "driving
under the influence" of alcohol or drugs.
It should be pointed out that without driving simulators, monitoring various circumstances such as driving
under the influence of alcohol or drugs would be very difficult, if not impossible to accurately and precisely
The Beneficial Aspects of Top-Shelf Driving Simulators
State-of-the-art driving simulators provide life-like experiences to drivers while reproducing the outside
driving conditions and duplicating the operation of a vehicle.
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
State-of-the-art driving simulators can provide information about driving while the person is "under the
influence of alcohol" without actually using real alcohol.
Moreover, the incorporation of quality visual and audio systems help make the driving experience as realistic as
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
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.
Not only this, but 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
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
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,
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 alcohol.
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
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, the use of driving simulators equals an advanced and doable type of training and
experimentation that can provide a great deal of information that would be almost impossible to gather in live
In short, driving simulators are a safe and efficient way to measure certain driving conditions (such as driving
while impaired or driving "under the influence" of alcohol or drugs) that are difficult, if not impossible to
analyze in real life driving situations.