By on May 27, 2009

Popular Science clears the air (so to speak) about which of America’s favorite intoxicants impairs driving skill the most. And it turns out that the stoned driver is a careful driver. Well, compared to a drunk driver, anyway. Research from a fancy driving simulator at Ben Gurion University’s Laboratory for Human Factors in Road Safety shows that reefer-crazed drivers drove considerably slower than the control group, while drunk drivers drove faster. In addition, “the drinking drivers also tended to be confident and boast a sense of control, while the pot smokers seem to be ‘more aware of their impairment.'” Of course, PopSci and Ben Gurion University don’t exactly condone doobing and driving. “None of the doped-up or drinking drivers were models of safety on the road. They tended to switch lane positions, swerve, and vary their steering,” is the verdict. But that’s just, like, their opinion… man. In honor of TTAC’s recent exploration of the legal grey areas of on-road behavior, we thought we’d ask: what are the five best rules of stoned driving? Entries will be accepted until 6pm Eastern Time. The winner gets the unclaimed (previous contest) Taschenwörterbuch der Kraftfahrzeugtechnik (English-German car technical dictionary). Because compound words are mind blowing after a toke or two. Dude.

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39 Comments on “TTAC Contest: Maximum Stoned Speed...”

  • avatar

    If your stupid enough to find your self impaired and behind the wheel park it.Do yourself and everybody else on the road, a favour.Take a bus take a cab,walk.

  • avatar

    1. First beer (to balance upcoming hit)
    2. Leetle hit
    3. Second beer (optimum alcohol level – stop here)
    4. Cigar to mask both
    5. Choose roads with plenty of cars

  • avatar

    number one, turn key clockwise, oh wait my watch is digital, foiled!

    number two, hey man the light is green now! awww it just turned red again, time to toke up another one.

    number three, no your not just high, that cop really is looking at you.

    number four, if you get stopped don’t get caught eating the weed that turns a misdemeanor into a felony. Its true! I saw it on “COPS”

    number five, what was I saying?

  • avatar

    1. They’re all watching you.
    2. A one-hitter that looks like a cigarette is best.
    3. Bring along a Coke for the cottonmouth.
    4. Loud music makes you stand out.
    5. The speed limit seems fast, but it’s safe…

  • avatar

    Tips from a friend of mine who makes James Franco look like Bert from Sesame Street.

    #5 – you had better be able to recite your ABCs backwards (without laughing) before you hit the ignition. Driving a little baked is one thing, driving blown out of your mind is quite another.

    #4 – absolutely do NOT put on spaced-out music. You want something with a very consistent rhythm and some simplicity in order to sharpen your focus. STOOGES yes, ELECTRIC WIZARD….no. Actually, you’re probably better off with talk radio above all else.

    #3 – Cruise control is the greatest thing in the world. Set that sucker exactly at the speed limit and then you’ll only have to worry about applying the brake and steering. Don’t drive under the speed limit – its a dead giveaway for the cops.

    #2 – You’d better have at least $1,000 in bail money ready to go for your impending arrest. Keep it in a separate bank account and make sure your wife/girlfriend/best friend can access it when needed to bail your dumb ass out.

    #1 – Call a cab you cheap-ass. The cost of one DUI + Impound + Possession + Bail + jail time is much less than a $20 cab ride home. The other option is choosing drugs that the government has deemed okay – like xanax and oxycontin. Those are totally fine.

  • avatar

    In NJ, if your in the drivers seat and drunk, regardless if keys are in the ignition, and car is running or not, if you are in a parking lot, driveway or whatever, you can still be busted for drunk driving.

  • avatar

    Maximum speed stoned = 0mph. Thank you, walk through :)

  • avatar

    @BlueBrat I agree, its the same law in Ontario.Care and control is the term we use.

    However when stoner figures out how to put in Park,and shut off the ignition, we are all a lot safer.

  • avatar

    Compared to a drunk, a stoner can blend much better with traffic, and frankly be much safer (less un-safe is probably more accurate term here) than a drunk while operating a motor vehicle.

    Where problems arrive for the stoned driver (and potentially other motorists) is unexpected situations that need quick recovery or improvised driver input. Driving in unfamiliar locales or conditions that nullify the internal “autopilot” of driving routine routes are a good example of a bad situation for a stoned operator. Other than that, the stoned driver should follow the five rules below to both mitigate the potential for LE interdiction and the safety of other motorists (and the stoned driver):

    1. Always go the speed of traffic, not the speed limit.

    2. If there is no traffic, go slightly faster than the speed limit (no more than 3, maybe 4%).

    3. Distractions are disaster for the stoned mind that needs to concentrate on something; stoner can chew gum or walk the line, but doing both simultaneously is a challenge. Fumbling with electronics, puffing cigarettes, jamming Whopper into maw even, are all gateway drugs to the police station – and worse – for the stoned driver.

    4. Stereo playing is fine. Loud stereo is bad, not just for making you stick out, but robbing stoned driver of now-more-critical-than-ever auditory input from the environment around them.

    5. Don’t change your driving style. If you are not an overly cautious driver normally, being one while stoned makes you think about each and every input on the vehicle operation. This mitigates the considerable autopilot function of the cerebellum and counter-intuitively makes you a less-safe and inconspicuous driver.

  • avatar

    1. Holding your head closer to the windshield will not help you to see any better.

    2. That’s not the hand-of-god nudging you back to the left. It’s the curb…

    3. It is NOT okay to leave 3 to 5 car-lengths of space before a red light.

    4. Check periodically to make sure your foot is ACTUALLY on the gas pedal.

    5. Have a friend help you determine where (P)ark is and when to use it.

  • avatar

    On a country road or open interstate only. And yes, cruise control is your friend. But in reality, you shouldn’t do it. We have to fight the fight and doing stupid shit like that doesn’t help the cause.

  • avatar

    Ah, what the hell.

    1. If you think you’re driving poorly, you are.
    2. A bunch of bumper stickers for the Grateful Dead, dreadlocks (especially on a white guy), and 8 of your closest buddies in the car with you will draw the wrong kind of attention.
    3. Leave it at home – you might convince the cop you’re not baked, but you’ll never convince him the baggie isn’t yours. And the dog WILL find the baggie.
    4. Use Visine, fool.
    5. A little goes a long way – don’t over-do it.
    6. Be mindful of the situation. You won’t be able to cope well with I-696 during rush hour, but it could theoretically help pass the time while driving the U-Haul through Nebraska.

    There you go. Hate away.

  • avatar

    1 – Obey all traffic devices
    2 – Obey the speed limit
    3 – Take back roads
    4 – Have a copilot
    5 – Don’t be shady (joint in mouth/hotboxing car)

  • avatar
    Ralph SS

    tuckerdawg: +1 ….. or +5. Whichever.

    But, really, don’t you think it’s time to decriminalize the stuff. When was the last time someone was raped or assaulted who’s attacker was stoned on mj exclusively. Or drove 100 mph+ through an intersection. It’s incredible that we still incarcerate people because of marijuana. America has what? – 5% of the worlds population. We incarcerate 25% of the criminals

    Wait – did someone actually SAY marijuana?

    If not, then nevermind.

    BTW – The Big Lewbowski – a great movie.

  • avatar

    1. Open all windows and sunroof if applicable. You gotta let that sucker air out!

    2. You might want to spray a little Glade around too, just for good measure.

    3. You definitely need water. Or a Snapple. Cottonmouth is a bitch, you don’t want that to be a distraction.

    4. A couple of drops of Visine wouldn’t hurt, either. Dude, you’re so wasted!

    5. Put on your seatbelt, look at that street and say, “Hey bud, let’s party”.

  • avatar

    1. If you get pulled over by the police and the policeperson offers you a “Pay Day” or a “Jaffa cake”, don’t accept it! It’s a trap!

    2. IF you are DUI, drive steady, but reasonably fast. It’s the same with drunk driving, if you’re the only one on the motorway at 1am in the morning and the police spot one car drving 30mph, they’re going to pull you over!

    3. If you’re driving and you find yourself accidentally DUI (it’s happened to me) don’t panic! Just carrying on driving, but pay MORE attention.

    4. If, possible, find a petrol station and get a coffee or, better still, have a sleep.

    5. If you’re planning having a smoking session, treat it like you were going to the pub. You wouldn’t have a drinking session then drive home, so don’t do it with a load of “Mary Jane”.

    Marijuana should be legalised. I don’t see the problem with it. Just look at the Dutch system, it works.

    P.S “The Big Lebowski” rocks! Don’t pee on his rug….

  • avatar

    In my younger days it was not uncommon for my friends to drive around hotboxing the car with blunts. I wasn’t driving, but the drivers never had a problem. There weren’t any close calls or other mishaps. For somebody used to the stuff weed isn’t a problem. But for novices, not so much.

  • avatar

    I’ve known plenty of daily pot smokers who’ve never gotten into an accident or arrested for driving under the influence of drugs. As dolo54 said, novices might be a different story, but experienced potheads are no danger behind the wheel.

    Marijuana can be a great adjunct to long distance driving. Change the tape/cd, smoke a joint, eat something. Iterate. It helps the miles pass in a less boring manner.

    The key to not getting busted is not attracting attention. Smoke joints, not blunts, and save the roaches for later because most folks don’t use hemostats with tobacco cigarettes.

  • avatar


    1. Don’t be an idiot, too much is too much

    2. Never during any sort of big game season, that’s just asking for a roadblock encounter

    3. Leave the baseball cap at home

    4. Carry a few oranges (and a hungry co-pilot, no problem). The peeling does more for smell than any air freshener, without being an obvious giveaway.

    5. who said bring a bat? If you can’t eat it, don’t bring it. If you are going to eat it, do so before being pulled over.

  • avatar

    #1 Rule

    Don’t be like Jack (Bauer or Baruth).

  • avatar

    I’ve defended a few folks in court for this. Some Observations:

    #1 with a Bullet (not that kind)
    Don’t leave roaches in the ashtray.
    Weed reeks. Roaches too.
    #2 Don’t do two things wrong. Drive nice…make sure your car has all lights on, valid stickers, etc. Speed limit plus 5.

    Don’t carry more than you need-lotsa folk appear to carry the whole ounce when they are just packing a bowl. Charges are based on quantity.

    Smoking in the car outside your local chain restaurant ensures the local police officer will be making arrests. If other humans can see you, are you sure you know all of them ? Ask Michael Phelps. Public is public.

    In some states, like NY, simple pot cases are not too ridiculous. Over the border in NJ you are looking at big fines, with six months of drug testing and probation. For the same simple possession case. What may be a parking ticket in one state can be a felony in another. Even in a liberal state, MJ possession on Federal Property (parks, seashores) can get you into the Federal System, which is worse than most states.

    Don’t get caught driving. It is just as expensive as an alcohol DWI, and as much “therapy”, whether you need it or not.

    I’ve spent too much time in Court defending folks on drug charges-most drug laws are too harsh for the ills to society. I’d legalize, if only to de-fund the drug cartels and reduce the free fire zones in the inner city. Alcohol made the mafia, and we repeat this mistake still.

    I’m not worried about the slightly buzzed stoner. The hardcore drunky scares me a lot more, but the stoner gets hit with the same laws designed for the drunk.

  • avatar

    1. Must keep one hand on wheel at all times and master one-hand joint rolling.

    2. Remember to look both way before toking.

    3. Keep stash in daughter’s diaper — they’ll never look there.

    4. One word: sunglasses.

    5. I forgot the fifth one.

  • avatar

    Don’t toke up and drive, especiallly if you are a novice smoker. You will stand out like a sore thumb and likely get caught. The trick blend in and look like the rest of traffic.

    1.) Determine if you are too stoned to drive. If you can’t find the right key, you’re too stoned to drive. If you can’t see because the world is a giant blur, you are too stoned to drive. If you find ANYTHing in the driving process(adjusting radio, wipers, anything) confusing, you are too stoned to drive.

    2.) Don’t drive something that stands out in traffic. You want to blend into traffic and become like everyone else not stand out because of your primer coated 24″ spinner rim, straight pipe Caprice.

    3.) If you have trouble driving in a sober state DON’T drive stoned. If you can’t stay in your lane, park, and manage your speed in traffic while normal you sure won’t be better high.

    4.) Drive the same way you do all the time or should drive all the time: stay with the flow of traffic, use your signals, don’t tailgate, have your lights on at night or in the rain.

    5.) Don’t try to do anything else while driving or fumble with anything that would make you take your eyes off the road. When you break from focusing on driving and over correct they will nail you.

    I would stay away from deserted streets or areas with known drug activity, the cops will be looking for things out of the norm.

  • avatar

    “The Troll About Cars.” Good to see what the site has become…

    And I don’t care how experienced a smoker you are, or how in control you think you are. Your reaction time is not the same stoned, and hence you are a threat to other people on the road. Most of the time you won’t be a danger, but it only takes one time.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    poking smot causes drain bamage

  • avatar

    All this advice is wrong- go ahead and run the reds, change lanes without signaling, ignore the posted limit (over or under), weave all over the road, and act like an idiot in general. You will blend right in with the vast majority of the motoring public. In the unlikely event you get pulled over, just tell the officer you were talking on your cell phone. Mandatory disclaimer: I’m kidding, of course. Sort of.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Aand we have a winner! Tuckerdawg, drop us a line via the contact form, and we’ll hook you up with your new Taschenwörterbuch der Kraftfahrzeugtechnik. Far out!

    Everyone else, keep the ’em coming.

  • avatar

    Dear maniceightball:

    Try not to take these comments too seriouly. It is all in good fun. For the record I do not imbibe in illicit drug use — but maybe I did 25 years ago in college. The fact is, treating marijuana and alcohol the same for driving offenses is nonsensical. The study is spot-on regarding the near innocuous effect of marijauana use while driving. Reefer should be legal and I suspect most intelligant people that have any meaningful first-hand experience with the drug understand this – even if they will not admit it publicly.

  • avatar
    Joe ShpoilShport

    Congratulations, tuckerdawg.

    This was fun.

    Ah. That’s why it’s illegal.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    ShpoilShport: Careful man, there’s a beverage here.

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    It’s an interesting writeup in Popular Science, and the results are probably valid to some degree, but one potentially confounding factor not mentioned is the effects of the difference between driving a car and driving a simulator.

    Simulators of the type described are of great value in a wide array of research into the driver-vehicle-road system, but no matter how realistic the wraparound imagery and operation of the car controls, the lack of actual motion sends conflicting signals to the brain: eyes say you’re moving, rest of senses say you’re stationary. This sensory disagreement tends to cause discomfort (simulation sickness — also observable in some players of certain video games) that can involve dizziness, nausea, and general unease. It also causes cognitive and physical confusion; one tends to second-guess control inputs because the response doesn’t feel right. The task load is increased, because the conscious mind is tagging along “cleaning up” after this subconscious tendency to second-guess. The degree of disparity between performance in an actual vehicle and in a simulator varies by individual and by individuals’ experience with simulators, just as some people easily get seasick and others don’t, and many people initially very prone to seasickness become much less so with prolonged, repeated experience. Also like seasickness, awareness of the potential and conscious will against it is largely ineffective. I recall the astonished and frustrated reactions of many of us in a sizeable group of experienced, knowledgeable traffic safety researchers upon trying the very sophisticated driving simulator at the University of Iowa’s Operator Performance Laboratory some years ago during a symposium — even those who scoffed at the errors others were making made those same errors when their turns in the simulator came.

    The relevance here should be fairly obvious: the subjects of this present study probably had little or no prior experience with driving simulators, so were likely to exhibit significant simulator-induced driving impairment and simulator sickness. And we probably don’t know the degree to which alcohol and cannabis attenuate or amplify either or both effects. So the difference between drunk and stoned drivers may be greater or lesser than the study found, and it may or may not be qualitatively different than the study found.

  • avatar

    First thing I thought about when I saw this thread was The Dude dropping the hots in his lap, screaming and swerving his Torino into the garbage cans. I laugh hysterically everytime I see that.

  • avatar

    Dear maniceightball:

    Try not to take these comments too seriouly.

    Yeah, I know.. I’m being a killjoy. It’s just hard for me to have a sense of humor about this subject because I’ve had to deal with it before. Anyway, please do ignore my overreacting.

  • avatar

    When I was in high school, I used to smoke and drive all the time.

    Why? Well, where else to smoke? Couldn’t do it at my house. Couldn’t do it in the park. Couldn’t do it anywhere where other people were. So, the mobile semi-privacy of a car was my only choice. You can’t really park, either, because that looks suspicious – you just have to keep moving. Driving on a long empty road was the safest place to smoke up.

    And, it was safe. I was always a fine, cautious driver while stone. Even while completely baked, I could always hold it together well. I had a number of times where I had to react to an emergency situation – cars veering into my lane, animals jumping in front of me, cars slamming on the brakes in front of me – and I always reacted just as quickly and competently as while sober. While stoned, I never came close to having an accident.

    I used to drive stoned more often than I drove sober. However, I was in two accidents during that period that were my fault. Both times I was stone cold sober.

    Driving while stoned should carry the same penalty as driving while talking on a cell phone, applying makeup, or eating. It can slow your reaction time and be a distraction, but it is fundamentally different from alcohol. Hell, many prescription pharmaceuticals are more impairing to the driver. Not sleeping enough and eating food that spikes your blood sugar are both impairing to the driver.

    Driving stoned should be treated as a minor $100 ticket, not a criminal matter. If you cause damage, however, all bets are off.

    So, advice for avoiding the predatory American criminal justice system?

    1) Smoke out of an apple. When you are finished, you can eat your pipe, which covers your breath. Apples are damned healthy any way – you probably don’t eat enough. Apple pipes are easy to make – poke a chopstick through the fattest part, and cut a bowl with a knife. Dry it off a bit with the lighter. If you mess up, turn the apple 90 degrees and try again.

    2) Don’t carry more than you need to. Don’t leave anything within plain sight around the car. Be careful of big conspicuous glass pipes. Hide your stash well, and never in the glove compartment, pockets, or somewhere that is suspicious to access. Be clever and inventive – for instance, always carry around a couple bags of non-perishable groceries in the back seat. Within the bags, keep a box of granola bars or something, something that be made to look like it’s still sealed after you open it. Leave most of the bars in, and hide your stash in there with the other groceries. Those fake WD40 cans can be good too. Hide your stash somewhere where a cop has never thought to look before, somewhere that is your own idea.

    3) Always keep cool. Do everything possible to blend in. Act like an honest, law-abiding commuter. In God’s eyes, you’re not breaking any laws. If you’re pulled over, act friendly and ask for a break from the traffic infraction. Keep cool, stay civil and together, but don’t consent to searches. Breath deeply, learn to master the feeling of fear. If you are expecting to be arrested, you will be arrested. This applies to ordinary tickets too.

    4) Alert, alert, alert. Learn to spot a cop from a mile off. Wait till you are clear of all traffic on all sides to take a hit. Remember that being parked can be very dangerous, because someone sitting in a parked car stands out. You are safer while moving.

    5) Understand a cop’s psychology, and never give them a reason to pull you over. Don’t slow down when you see him, don’t speed up. Pretend you didn’t see the cop at all, just continue driving predictably and legally like you have been the whole time.

    P.S. It’s not exactly relevant, but I thought it was interesting that I came upon this article on another blog right after writing this.

    Wouldn’t that be a fine headline to see in America, the land of the free?

  • avatar

    1. Light a cigarette to cover the smell.

    2. Sunglasses, Visine

    3. Get one of those old man tobacco pipes, the kind you see in old movies and tv shows from the 50s. The cops will never look twice at someone smoking out of one.

    4. Realize that even on the freeway, somebody driving behind you can smell it. On the motorcycle I smell the reek coming from cars even doing 75 mph

    5. Most important rule of all: don’t bogart it!

  • avatar

    I liken driving stoned, to driving a cloud (or magic carpet) whatever the speed, which by the way never goes over 20kph, because at that speed it already feels like light speed. if you do go the speed limit, you will feel as if you are gonna spin around the earth so fast you will leave gravity behind.

    potholes will feel like very soft air turbulence, parking is exceptionally crafty as your condition will allow for a birds eye view (you think) that is much better than the optional park assist on an Infiniti.

    Toking and driving i think are much safer than drinking and driving, but i do not approve of either of course.

    I am guilty of doing it once (driving under the influence of Cannabis Sativa extracts), and i stress on once, but nothing beats riding toqued up in a back of a Wrangler going of road in the dead of night. Now that’s a joyride from hell…. (driver was sober, pumped up on red bull which is also a threat it think)

    on a more direct note, I’d like to try the simulator experiment myself to see how i would handle myself in traffic if I were under either drug or alcohol influence, or both

  • avatar
    Kevin Kluttz

    Ronman: wrong.

    Buddhaflow: absolutely, positively ACCURATE.

  • avatar

    1. “Extinguish” all smoking materials, return seatbacks and tray tables to their upright and locked positions, and fasten all seatbelts before departing. Then when you’re done with that and you’re ready to get in the car, look around and make sure everything in there looks more or less okay, too.

    2. Steadfastly maintain the 10-and-2 driving position. This is of critical importance, because your hands are, like, HUGE. Warning: do not attempt to check out your own hands while the vehicle is in motion. Wait until you’re at a stop light, then try running your palms over the dash. Duuuuuuuuude.

    3. Sunglasses are key. Doesn’t matter if it’s raining, or hailing, or if it just looks like it’s raining but when it hits your skin it feels like it’s totally not even, like, water or anything.

    4. Keep a low profile and don’t screw around. Plan your route. Know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there; tell any passengers so there are no mid-journey “discussions” about whether to take the highway or surface roads (or, see item #5). Discuss in advance any necessary pit stops for food and/or beverages (because, let’s face it, you’re going to stop for food and/or beverages). Focus: now is not the time to consider how you’re going to re-route your exhaust, or wonder if that pinging was really coming from the engine or if you ran over a lug nut. Warning: do not attempt to focus by pretending you’re trying to complete a Grand Theft Auto mission, even that really hard one with that jackass where you have to shoot all the little planes. Pay attention to where you are, take it slow, take it steady.

    5. A navigation system is a major time-saver: use Driver’s Prerogative to promote the Bitch in the Box to Navigator, and give whoever’s riding shotgun dominion over the radio. This should quell any nascent uprisings from backseat drivers, distract your pax from the issue of route, and lead into an hour-long debate on the music; by the time your ride-alongs are done picking the one perfect CD that everybody HAS to listen to, you’ll have arrived at your destination.

  • avatar

    This will not stand, man!

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