Your Hump-Day Recess: 2 Anti Drunk Driving Ads From Beer Companies
Today’s lesson is on reaction time. As you probably know, alcohol slows reaction time considerably. The more alcohol in your system, the longer it takes the brain to process an external stimulus and do what is necessary. Case in point: the more beer you drink before you drive, the less likely you are to stop in time at the sight of a pedestrian or another car.
This should be obvious, but a lot of drivers don’t take this into account when deciding if they’ve had too much to drink. They think because they can see clearly and control the vehicle that they’re safe to drive.
These two ads from different breweries show the folly of that conclusion. Both are variations on the same idea: you think you can stop in time, but the alcohol in your body says different. On the right is an ad from Heineken. The one below is from Guinness.
For the record, alcohol slows information processing from the eye and ear to the brain and from there to the muscles. The mechanism is gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity. Increased GABA actiivty means a longer response time. How long? Take a look at that intersection on the ad to the right. Imagine you’re 50 feet from the corner and you suddenly see a pedestrian. You should be able to stop in time.
But say you’ve had enough alcohol to slow your reaction time 30 percent, which is very plausible. In that case, it would take an extra 15 feet to stop. That would place you squarely in the middle of the intersection, where the pedestrian would be walking.
What makes these ads helpful is that they’re about a specific aspect of drunk driving – reaction time – and not a generalized guilt trip or scarefest. Maybe someone has seen them and thought about handing over the keys to a sober friend. If so, they’ve done their job.