Drinking and Driving: Perceptions and Evaluations as a Function of Level of Intoxication and Weather

Robert J. Turrisi, Jerry Suls, Stephen Serio, Stephen Reisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, drinking and driving has been a major social problem causing deaths and injuries. The present study examined factors that may encourage this potentially self‐destructive behavior. Three hundred and seventy‐eight subjects were presented with scenarios describing a night of drinking with friends. Scenarios differed with respect to three levels of intoxication (not at all, slight, and very) and two levels of weather (clear and rain). Subjects were asked to estimate the proportion of their peers who would drive home or choose an alternative form of transportation. Subjects were also asked to evaluate the target who drove home or took an alternative in terms of likability, cautiousness, skillfulness and independence. Driving home was found to be the most common mode of transportation, regardless of state of drunkenness or weather conditions. Alternatives to driving home were seen as being utilized only under extreme conditions (e.g., very intoxicated and rainy weather). Moreover, persons taking one of the more cautious alternatives were perceived as overly cautious and also low in skillfulness. The practical implications for the findings are discussed with respect to enhancing education efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-903
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Aug 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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