From the February 1967 magazine.

About Alcoholism - Alcoholism Information, Research and Treatment

The Thought's the Thing

An experiment carried out several years ago in Manchester, England, involved a group of experienced bus drivers. They were divided into three groups: the first drank nothing before the test, the second drank two ounces of whisky and the third drank six ounces of whisky. Driving their own buses, these men, most of them moderate beer drinkers and all of them highly experienced drivers with no accident records, were told to maneuver their vehicles through the narrowest possible corridor without touching the side markers. They were themselves to indicate the width of the corridor they thought they could negotiate.

As the percentage of alcohol in their blood increased, the drivers became more and more cocky: one tried to drive his eight-foot-wide bus through a seven-foot-five-inch corridor, another insisted that six-feet-ten inches was enough. It is important to note that many of these drivers retained a wonderful degree of skill even after drinking six whiskies. They were still able to drive a double-decker bus at twenty or thirty miles an hour through a gap with only a half-inch or so on either side. But--and this is the crux of the matter--they believed they could do even better. The alcohol did not so much disrupt their performance as it affected their judgment. Even under the best of conditions there is a tenuous relationship between what we think we can do and what we are actually of doing. After the ingestion of alcohol, this delicate relationship tends to disintegrate.

-- World Health, as reprinted in Honor

Shreveport, Louisiana

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