Most holiday parties and gatherings feature alcoholic beverages of some kind. As a result, there is a greater risk of getting charged with drunk driving at this time of the year. While you should always avoid drinking and getting behind the wheel, you should also understand how much alcohol it takes to get legitimately drunk.
Every drink increases blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which can get you in legal trouble or worse if you are in an accident. Here are a few things to keep in mind when celebrating with friends and family.
It typically takes at least four drinks to reach the legal driving limit of .08%. Perception becomes impaired at this point, which prevents drivers from identifying hazards on the road responsibly. Vision decreases and reasoning also suffers. Lack of focus and loss of short-term memory are also common.
After five drinks, BAC usually reaches .10%. Reaction time decreases, speech becomes slurred, and cognition occurs at a much slower rate. Drivers also exhibit problems remaining in their lanes or braking as needed when approaching a stop sign or traffic light.
BAC rises even further after seven alcoholic beverages. With a .15% BAC, driving ability is significantly impaired. Drivers may feel physically ill due to the high level of intoxication, which can affect their thinking. They may lack control over the vehicle and experience impairment of their information processing capabilities. They will also have less control over their muscles.
You may become inebriated quicker if you drink more than the standard size for the alcohol you are consuming. For example, liquor is more potent than beer, so liquor comes in a smaller sized glass. Your weight and tolerance level can also play a role in how many drinks it takes for you to get drunk.