Having a night out with friends or family members is a lot of fun. If you are heading out and intend to drink alcohol, be sure you have a way to get home. It is easy to underestimate how alcohol will affect you, so it is best not to take any chances.
The liver breaks down alcohol at a rate of .015 g/100mL/hour for healthy individuals. The rate of metabolizing is even slower than that for some people, including those who are note healthy and those who are on certain medications.
Example of BAC (blood-alcohol-concentration reduction)
If you go out to the club and finish drinking at 3 a.m. with a BAC of .200, this is a rough timeline of how your BAC would fall:
- 5 a.m.: .170
- 7 a.m.: .140
- 9 a.m.: .110
- 11 a.m.: .080
- 1 p.m.: .050
- 3 p.m.: .030
- 5 p.m.: .000
Following this timeline, you would not be able to legally drive until after 11 a.m. Even then, your ability to drive would be negatively affected until around 5 p.m. Many people do not realize that any impairment at all can make it dangerous to drive.
How does BAC affect driving ability?
A person’s BAC affects their driving ability by altering their reaction time and ability to make decisions. Some of the more predictable effects include:
- .02%: Lowered ability to do two things at once
- .05%: Trouble steering a vehicle
- .08%: Reduction in ability to process information
- .10%: Decline in ability to brake properly
Some people think they can drink coffee to bring down their BAC faster, but the only thing that will work is time. Trying to count on other things to help you sober up will lead to problems. It is best to find a ride home and sleep off the alcohol until it is safe for you to drive again.
If you try to drive home after a couple of drinks, even if you think you’re fine, you may be too impaired to drive. This can lead to criminal charges if you are pulled over and the officer determines you are impaired. Anyone facing drunk driving charges should ensure they understand the options they have for a defense strategy. Some of these are time-sensitive, so do not waste time once you are arrested.