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Mixed drinks: Giving you a false sense of sobriety

When you drink, you may think you know how the alcohol will affect you. Since that's the case, you may also believe that there is no risk of a DUI if you get behind the wheel.

The trouble is that some drinks cause unexpected results. For example, some drinks combine soft drinks and hard liquor or sugary syrups with spirits. While this in itself isn't a problem, the issue that can result is that people may drink more alcohol than intended. The sugary taste hides the flavor of the alcohol, so people may mistakenly believe that the alcohol content is not as high as it is.

Sugar and alcohol combined cause some trouble due to the fact that they are both addictive. Interestingly, sugar can boost alcohol's effects. On top of this, they both trigger the pleasure center of the brain, making them a dangerous duo. The drinks are easy to consume and the amount you've had can become distorted. Adding up drinks to decide if you can drive won't work as well with mixed drinks, so the only way to be 100 percent certain is to make sure you carry a portable breathalyzer.

How can you avoid a DUI when drinking mixed drinks?

To avoid getting a DUI, there are a few tips you should remember. First, if you plan to go out and drink, plan for a sober ride home. Whether that's a ride-sharing service or a friend who is a designated driver, planning ahead will help you avoid a drunk-driving incident.

Another tip, if you have to drive, is to drink water between your alcoholic beverages. This fills you up and makes certain that you are washing alcohol out of your system. Additionally, you won't be able to drink as much alcohol in the time frame as you would if you drank alcohol with no nonalcoholic beverages in between.

Finally, carry a breathalyzer. It is not incriminating to have one on hand, and it's a good idea if you plan to drink any amount. You can test, and if you are above the limit, wait before you drive. It's the only device that can tell you (although these devices are not infallible) if you are legally able to get behind the wheel of your vehicle. If you are over the limit, continue testing every 15 to 30 minutes until your BAC is below the .08 percent limit. If you can, wait until it drops to zero.

These are some tips to help you avoid a DUI in South Carolina. Be cautious if you choose to drink and drive yourself home.

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