The Feds Don’t Want You to Drive High, Even If It Means Escaping a Psycho Killer
This new government-funded PSA says you shouldn't drive a car while high on weed — under any circumstances — even if it means saving your life from a deranged killer.
Published on July 9, 2020

The feds want you to know that smoking weed and operating a motor vehicle don’t jive — even if you’re trying to get away from a masked madman wielding a deadly weapon in the woods. At least that's the takeaway from “You Can Run, But You Can’t Drive High,” a new PSA commercial created by the Ad Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

It’s a horror movie parody in which two dudes — one stoned and one sober — flee a masked predator who’s swinging an axe at them. During a series of narrow escapes, the pursued pals spout reasons not to drive high. When the dudes finally hop into a parked truck, the one behind the wheel says, “I can’t drive. I’m high.” The guys switch places and zoom off to safety.

The spot is part of the NHSTA’s “Feel Different, Drive Different” campaign and — if anyone comes away confused — it also features on-screen messaging such as: “This is an ad that says you shouldn’t drive high.”

According to the campaign’s website, “The rules around marijuana use can be confusing. But when it comes to marijuana use and driving, all you need to remember is one rule: Driving impaired is illegal everywhere.”

“Research shows marijuana can slow reaction time, impair judgment of distance, and decrease coordination — all skills necessary for the safe operating of a vehicle,” notes a statement from the Ad Council. “Our campaign targets young men aged 18 to 35, many of whom reject the common stereotypes of marijuana users — and reminds viewers that if you feel different, you drive different. Don't drive high.”

Much debate continues over how THC impacts one’s ability to drive, causing opponents of legalization to single out this issue as a reason to halt reform. At the time of this writing, a roadside test that can prove if you're high (think: a breathalyzer for alcohol, but for weed) does not exist. So, there is no way for law enforcement to know if you're driving stoned, unless you are caught smoking while driving or you look flagrantly impaired (perhaps from eating too many edibles). It makes sense, then, that the PSA took a don't-drive-under-any-circumstances vein. 

From that lens, the PSA effectively delivers its message — if you're caught stoned behind the wheel, you'll get you arrested — with all the subtlety of a psycho-killer hellbent on chopping off your head.

“You Can Run, But You Can’t Drive High” is reportedly set to run a 30-second commercial on TV and an 80-second version online. Audio versions are also reportedly going to air on the radio, too.

While we do not condone driving high, if it is a life or death situation in which you are being chased by a person with an axe who is obviously trying to murder you — do whatever you can to get away. Sometimes life or death situations call for driving after you've had a couple puffs. 

Mike McPadden
Mike McPadden is the author of "Heavy Metal Movies" and the upcoming "Last American Virgins." He writes about movies, music, and crime in Chicago. Twitter @mcbeardo
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