There’s a fine line between being too intoxicated to drive and being ok to operate a motor vehicle. Scientifically speaking, any amount of alcohol will impair your judgment to a certain extent. The determination of a .08 blood alcohol content as the limit for “sober” driving at times seems arbitrary. Some people feel like they are too impaired to drive at .05% BAC. Others can operate a motor vehicle just fine with a BAC of .08 or higher. All of these factors can make it difficult to know if you can safely drive yourself home after having a few drinks. There is no magic remedy to all of this confusion. But, here are a few tips to help you determine if you are able to drive home or not.
Understand Your Limits
If you know that you can only handle two beers at dinner, don’t exceed this amount. If you do exceed the number of drinks that you usually have, you should consider having someone else drive you home.
Buy a Personal Breathalyzer Test
There are several types of these tests on the market, from reusable ones that you can find on Amazon for $40, to disposable breathalyzers that you can pick up for a few dollars. Many lawyers even offer free disposable breath alcohol tubes for your convenience. While these breath tests are not always 100% accurate, they will provide a good basis to help you understand if you are sober enough to drive home. You can even buy a mobile breathalyzer attachment for your phone that will turn your phone into a breathalyzer.
Use a Breath Test App
There are some new phone applications that will help you determine if your BAC is too high for you to drive. One popular option is ENDUI, the free app that will estimate your BAC when you input your gender, weight, and information regarding what you drank and when you drank it. The app will then calculate an approximate BAC and inform you of your ability to drive safely. If you are not able to drive home, this app will help you find a cab or access a shortlist of emergency contacts who can be your designated driver.
When in Doubt, Proceed with Caution
If you are unsure about driving home, it is better to be safe than sorry. Call a cab, a friend, or ask someone else that you are with to drive you home. These options might seem like a pain, but they are nothing compared to dealing with a DUI!
If you find yourself in a situation where you are not sure if you are capable of safely driving home, you can call on one of these resources to help you make the decision. Again, when in doubt, get a ride with someone else. Please feel free to leave a comment about your tips for getting home safely below!
Blood alcohol content (BAC) is oftentimes used as a determining factor as to whether or not an individual is drunk or impaired. It is no secret that as someone consumes alcohol, the effects differ depending on how much they drink and the duration for which the person is drinking. The effects as your BAC rises are as follows.
At this stage you are not legally drunk. You will have no loss of coordination. Many believe that you feel mildly relaxed at this stage and any forms of shyness disappear. The individual may feel slightly light headed.
Many people think of this as the feeling good stage. There is a sensation of warmth coming over the body of the individual. There may be some minor impairment of self-control, reasoning, and memory. The affected person’s feelings may be intensified to extremes, and their motor skills will become slightly impaired.
At this stage the individual is considered to be drunk. It is illegal to be over 0.08 BAC and drive. The law considers you legally impaired. The individual’s reasoning and judgment become impaired. Oftentimes people will try to drive or operate a vehicle at this BAC because they believe that they are functioning much better and are more sober than they actually are. Reflexes and motor skills become impaired at this BAC.
The individual at this level of BAC is clearly intoxicated. They may suffer from slurred speech, loss of coordination, lack of balance, blurred vision, and more. Their memory may become foggy.
This person is very intoxicated. There will be a lack of physical control over motor skills and balance. Their perception is clearly impaired. Events may start becoming foggy. The individual may suffer from dysphoria, which is a form of anxiousness.
This individual is a “sloppy drunk.” They are difficult to deal with, irritable and has very intensified emotions.
A person who is this intoxicated may feel dazed and confused. They will be disoriented. Their motor skills are almost completely unreliable at this point and they will need help walking or standing. If injured, this person may not even feel the pain. Many people will experience vomiting at this level, and in addition may blackout and not remember the events that happen to them. Individual should be monitored because the gag reflex does not work properly when someone is this intoxicated and they could choke on vomit.
Very similar to an individual who blows a 0.20, but intensified. This person should not be left alone due to the risk of asphyxiation.
An individual this intoxicated may pass out or faint randomly and be very difficult to wake. They will have no comprehension of where they are or who is with them.
At this point the individual may slip into a coma. They are at the mental capacity as somebody who is under anesthesia.
This will more than likely result in a coma. The individual may face sudden death due to respiratory arrest.
The higher an individual’s BAC is, the less control they will have over their actions as well as their coordination and decision making. To ensure safety, it is smart to drink in moderation and be sure to eat and drink water while drinking. Even at a BAC under the legal limit, your abilities might get impaired. Keep this in mind before you get behind the wheel. For more information, you can contact my office.