Background Consumption of alcoholic mixed with energy drinks (AmED) is a known trend. However, the literature does not provide enough information whether drinking AmED differs relative to other alcoholic beverages. The aim of the study was to compare driving performance under AmED, to alcohol in a driving simulator.
Methods Twenty-one participants (21–28 years, driving experience average 8 years) who reported that they drink alcohol up to eight times a month, including AmED, drove the simulator in four separate sessions; after drinking placebo; energy drink; alcoholic beverage, and AmED. They drove a scenario combined of four road types; straight, foggy-winding, winding, and straight following a lead vehicle, each 10 Km long. For each road type there were various hazardeous events and secondary tasks.
Results Traditional analysis of blocks per road type yielded no significant differences among groups (placebo/energy/alcohol/AmED). Therefore a more refined analysis was conducted. For each drive, velocity was sampled every 3 metres. Based on this sampling the average speed among individuals of the same group was calculated for each road increment, resulting in four lines of average speed per road type representing the four groups. Behaviour of each group was them compared within road-type and between roads. We identified consistent patterns in speed behaviour among groups when looking at events within each road-type. However, there was no consistent single pattern across all.
Conclusions Individual, specific patterns that characterise driving after drinking placebo, energy, alcohol, or AmED were identified for each road type. Yet, a common pattern of behaviour was not found. Possibly, it is beneficial to examine behaviour by smaller segments of road-type related events rather than aim to identify global differences due to drinking and driving.
- Energy drink
- road type
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