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How does alcohol affect driving?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2022 | Car Accidents

Drunk driving is not only illegal, but it is also highly dangerous. Unfortunately, the victims of drunk driving accidents are often innocent people who had the bad luck of encountering an inebriated driver on the road.

Alcohol has a direct impact on driving ability, and each drink raises a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) a little further. Here is how alcoholic beverages can make for a dangerous driving experience.

Understanding standard drink sizes

Alcoholic beverages come in standard drink sizes based on the potency of the beverage. For instance, beer with 5% alcohol content comes in 12-ounce glasses. Distilled spirits, like an 80-proof liquor, are far more potent and served in a smaller 1.5-ounce glass, also known as a shot.

It is important to understand drink sizing because drinking more than the standard size affects the rate of inebriation. For example, drinking beer out of a larger glass can cause a person to become drunker quicker, even though they technically only consumed a certain number of drinks.

How BAC impacts driving ability

When it comes to the legal driving limit, drivers must remain under a .08% BAC to avoid arrest. However, alcohol affects the body and mind at much lower levels. While it takes about four standard drinks to reach the legal limit, just three drinks bring a driver to a .05% BAC. At this point, impaired judgment, impeded coordination, and diminished response to road hazards can all occur.

Significant inebriation can occur after just five drinks, which brings the BAC to .10%. In addition to slurred speech, drivers can also experience slowed cognition, improper braking, and decreased reaction time.

It is the duty of all drivers to conduct themselves safely on the road. When they do not, there is a very serious risk of accidents and injuries.