You might have a friend — or you might even be that person — who swears that they actually drive better after smoking a bit of marijuana (I believe the kids call it “reefer”); that it clears their head and helps them focus. But a new study confirms what many people had probably already guessed: that smoking pot and driving isn’t exactly a good idea.
According to a new investigation by researchers in Canada, driving within three hours of smoking pot puts almost doubles your risk being in an accident that leads to serious injury or death.
They found that recent marijuana use was associated with a 92% increased risk of fatal or near-fatal accidents. The better the quality of the study, the more likely it was to show an increase in marijuana-related risk.
The risk for minor collisions, however, was not raised significantly — possibly reflecting the fact that many stoned drivers attempt to be more cautious and can therefore compensate for some risks. That compensation may fail, however, when quick reflexes are most needed.
But impairment from pot alone is still less risky than driving while under the influence of alcohol. Someone driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 (the legal limit) triples the chances of an accident and a small increase to .10 nearly quintuples that risk.