Vehicles and alcohol do not mix well. When operating a vehicle under the influence, drivers are not only putting themselves at risk, they are also putting other drivers and pedestrians in danger. Although most people know operating a vehicle while under the influence is not safe, thousands of people across the nation still do it on a daily basis. Unfortunately, drunk driving is one of the leading causes of vehicular accidents and deaths. Here are some important things to know when it comes to drunk driving.
What is the Legal Limit of Alcohol You Can Drink Before Driving
The legal blood alcohol concentration level, or BAC level, is the nationally set at 0.08. A driver with a BAC at 0.08 or higher is considered legally impaired and may be charged with driving under the influence. For drivers under the age of 21, the limit is set at 0.01, and for vehicles that require a CDL, regardless if the driver has CDL license or not, the limit is set at 0.04.
Most people do not carry breathalyzers while going out for drinks. It can be difficult to gauge how many drinks one can consume that will equate to a 0.08 BAC. Blood alcohol concentration depends on many different factors, such as the number of drinks consumed, type of drinks consumed, the weight of the drinker, time elapsed since consuming the drink and more.
Although the effect of alcohol may mostly depend on the person consuming, the general rule of thumb when going out for drinks is to stop after 2 drinks (one drink being 1.25 oz of 80 proof liquor, 12 oz. of beer, or 5 oz. of wine). For some, one drink may be enough to get them buzzing, while others may not feel anything unless they finish a six-pack or a bottle. According to many different BAC charts for men and women, the lesser the body weight, the higher the BAC level after consuming 1 drink. A person weighing 100 lbs may reach 0.08 BAC after 2 drinks, while a person weighing 240 may only be at 0.04 BAC after 2 drinks. Even though a person weighing more might need more alcohol to reach 0.08 BAC, it is still important to drink responsibly, as police can still charge you for driving while intoxicated.
How to Avoid Drunk Driving
Here are some of the easiest ways to get around safely if you have been drinking.
Obviously, do not drink, and if you do, drink responsibly. Drinking is always optional, no matter what circumstances have pushed you to go out for drinks. If you must drink, do not have more than 1-2 drinks before operating a vehicle. Even then, allow up to 45 minutes to an hour before getting behind the wheel.
Plan Ahead. Secure a designated driver that will transport you and your drinking buddies back home. Although it may not be fun being the DD, you will be appreciated by your friends for potentially saving their lives. If picking a DD amongst your friends is difficult, alternate drivers everytime you go out to keep it fair.
Use public transportation. In many areas, public transport services like trains and buses run longer on the weekends to prevent more drunk drivers on the road. With today’s technology, anyone can order a ride through a smartphone app like Uber or Lyft.
Most bars and clubs are willing to call you a taxicab or work out some sort of arrangement to ensure you get home safe.
Many states require drivers to take a DUI course in order to reinstate a license or fulfill other driver requirements. Visit DriveSafeToday to enroll in an online defensive driving course for your state.