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How does alcohol affect driving ability?

On Behalf of | Nov 4, 2022 | Criminal Law - Criminal Defense, Criminal Law - Drunk Driving

With the holidays rapidly approaching, fun parties and other events are just around the corner. Alcoholic beverages are often a staple of holiday happenings, which can have disastrous consequences when it comes to driving.

Each alcoholic beverage a person consumes elevates their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Alcohol also affects your driving ability, which can cause accidents, injuries, and massive legal issues. This guide explains the link between alcohol consumption and risky driving, and what you can do to avoid major problems.

Three drinks (.05% BAC)

While still under the legal limit, consuming three drinks in one evening makes for dangerous driving conditions. Reduced coordination makes it difficult to steer the vehicle, while a decreased response can prevent you from reacting quickly. These effects can also impact judgment, which leads to risky behaviors.

Four drinks (.08% BAC)

Four beverages bring you to the legal limit of .08%. In addition to possible legal consequences, your ability to operate a vehicle safely will be greatly diminished. Perception is significantly impaired, as is your ability to process visual information. You may find that it is harder to control your muscles. Short-term memory is also impacted, as is reaction time.

Five drinks (.10% BAC)

By five drinks, most people are obviously inebriated. Diminished cognition, slurred speech, decreased reaction time can all occur. When it comes to driving, a motorist will find effective braking difficult. This is especially true when faced with an unexpected road hazard. It will also become much harder to maintain proper lane positioning, which can lead to weaving into oncoming lanes of traffic.

If you know that you will be drinking, designate a driver or use a ride share service. If possible, ask the host of the party if you can stay over instead of driving home. These small steps can keep yourself and others safe during the holiday season.