5 THINGS TO KNOW: Plan for a sober driver on 4/20

Apr. 19—The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office urges drivers to stay sober behind the wheel.

1 Why is there expected to be an increase in marijuana use on April 20?

Saturday, April 20, 2024, marks the unofficial marijuana "holiday," and there will likely be an increase in marijuana use. Marijuana laws are changing constantly across the country, but one thing remains: Impaired driving is illegal and deadly. NHTSA is reminding all drivers: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different.

2 What advice does the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office offer?

"It doesn't matter what you call it, if you're impaired, do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle," said Oklahoma Highway Safety Office Director Paul Harris. "We are asking our community members to use good judgement, obey the law, and make safe choices when driving a vehicle. Your decisions don't just affect you — they affect everyone on the road."

3 How does being high affect driving?

If you think being high won't affect your driving, you're wrong. It has been proven that marijuana can slow reaction times, impair cognitive performance, and make it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane. Whether the drug is legally obtained or not, drug-impaired driving poses a threat to everyone on the road.

4 What about those who plan to use marijuana on April 20?

Those who plan to use marijuana on 4/20 (or any day) should not drive. If you find yourself drug-impaired and stranded with your vehicle, give your keys to a sober driver who can safely drive you home or to a safe place. Remind your friends to never get in a vehicle with an impaired driver. If you have a friend who is about to drive while high, take the keys away and help them get home safely. Don't worry about offending someone — they'll thank you later.

5 What other information is available from NHTSA and OHSO?

There are many options to help impaired drivers get home safely. If available, use a sober ride program. If you see an impaired driver on the road, call 911.

By working together, we can save lives and help keep America's roadways safe. Please join NHTSA and OHSO in sharing the lifesaving message, If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. For more information on impaired driving, please visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drug-impaired-driving and https://oklahoma.gov/highwaysafety/focus-areas/drug-impaired.html.

—James Beaty