I have talked with numerous groups of teens and tweens. To get a message through to them you have to speak the truth and not try to scare them straight. They have great bullsh*t meters. Lying and fear tactics just don’t work. To drive home the dangers of drinking and driving I tell them what drinking alcohol does to their eyes. You have to remember that alcohol is a poison, we use it to kill bugs after all.
As you begin to drink the first thing you notice, and people around you notice, is that alcohol makes you stupid. It makes you say and do things that you wouldn’t without that “social lubricant”. I’d also mention that alcohol is the number one date rape drug, not the pills with exotic names, just plain old alcohol. As you continue to drink alcohol it begins to poison the muscles in your eyes. These are some of the earliest and most typical changes of drinking.
First poisoned are the muscles that control how much light your pupils let into your eyes. You lose the ability to close them down in bright light. When you are hit with a bright light, say the headlights of an oncoming car, you blink a lot and turn your head away because the lights seem even brighter. The problem with that is that your hands often follow your eyes. You turn the wheel of your car as you look away from the lights and off the road you can go.
Next poisoned, as you continue to drink, are the muscles that allow you to have both eyes focused at the same point. The result is double vision. You can’t focus those beer goggles. But which of the images is the real image? Is it the line on the right or the one a bit to the left. Hook a wheel off the road with the wrong guess and off you go. Not a good thing.
Continue to drink and the stupid deepens. Driving at this point brings a compulsion to line up with other vehicles. “If only I follow these other cars, I can make it home.” Unfortunately, the stupid makes you unable to know which cars are the ones to follow. Are they the ones with the bright lights? That would be headlights you are headed to and a head-on crash. How about these reflective red lights? Wrong again, that would be a parked car. I remember a young man once who made that choice. He exited his car through the windshield. Death instead of the path home.
Did I mention alcohol makes you stupid?