"How much is too much?"
Use the calculator, below, to estimate just how little alcohol it takes to put you on the "wrong side of the law".
"If I have too much to drink, I can drink a lot of coffee to sober up quickly. Right?"
Ha. Tell us another one! Drinking a lot of coffee after drinking too much alcohol may, however, increase your discomfort through the need to use the bathroom while being transported to the jail on DUI charges. Only time reverses impairment.
"Will eating breath mints after drinking fool a police 'breath test'?"
Eating mints will not affect your BAC level since it isn't the smell of your breath, but the alcohol content, that's measured. Using breath mints, however, may earn you points with the arresting officer if you normally have bad breath.
"Well, at least eating breath mints might fool the officer, right?"
Ha. Sure, police are really fooled when they see a combination of erratic driving behavior and powerfully minty breath. Yep, that one fools us every time. Get real.
"I've heard preparing yourself by eating certain foods before an evening of heavy drinking will help keep your sober. Is that true?"
That story has been around since before your grandparents were born. The only relation we've seen between what you eat before drinking and your drunkenness is that the more you drink, the more likely we are to find what you ate on your shirt, or on the floorboard of the patrol car.
"Ok, but if I eat a BIG meal before drinking, won't that help keep me from getting drunk?"
How much you have eaten, and how recently, may have a small effect on how quickly or slowly the alcohol you consume will enter your bloodstream — but it won't stop the alcohol from entering. If you drink too much, you will become intoxicated. There may be, however, a direct correlation between the size of your meal and how much of your meal may be found later in patrol cars and jail cells.
"Will splashing cold water on my face or taking a cold shower help sober me up?"
Splash away! And by all means, take a cold shower. It may make you cleaner, but it won't sober you up or make you a safe driver. The deputies at the jail, however, prefer clean drunks and recommend showering prior to doing anything that will lead to your arrest, such as driving after you've been drinking.
"Will running around the block a few times sober me up enough to drive home?"
Exercise won't sober you up any faster, but feel free to run around the block as many times as you like. The deputies at the jail ask us to remind you to shower after your long run and before you drive a car.
"They were serving a spiked punch, but I couldn't even taste the alcohol in it. I can't be drunk!"
Party-goer, beware. Fruit juices have the ability to mask the taste of alcohol. A fruit "punch" can contain a substantial amount of alcohol without the taste of the alcohol being noticed — but it will make you just as drunk as alcohol which you can taste in another kind of drink. A mild-tasting cup of punch at a party may contain more alcohol than any normal drink you would buy at a bar.
Nothing sobers up a drinker except time.
Here are two sex-weighted charts for an alternate
method for calculating an approximate BAC level...
Click HERE for a printable copy of the two Alcohol Impairment Charts (above) in Adobe .PDF format. (Click here to download free Acrobat Reader software direct from Adobe.
The same disclaimers apply to these charts (and the printable .PDF chart versions) as to the "BAC Calculator" at the top of this page. Click HERE to jump back up and read the disclaimers.
EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL AT SPECIFIC BAC LEVELS
The effects of alcohol intoxication are greatly influenced by individual variations; some users may become intoxicated at a much lower BAC level than is indicated (below)...
0.02 — 0.03 BAC: No loss of coordination, slight euphoria and loss of shyness. Depressant effects are not apparent. Mildly relaxed and maybe a little lightheaded.
0.04 — 0.06 BAC: Feeling of well-being, relaxation, lower inhibitions, sensation of warmth. Euphoria. Some minor impairment of reasoning and memory, lowering of caution. Your behavior may become exaggerated and emotions intensified (Good emotions are better, bad emotions are worse)
0.07 — 0.09 BAC: Slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing. Euphoria. Judgment and self-control are reduced, and caution, reason and memory are impaired (in some* states .08 is legally impaired and it is illegal to drive at this level). You will probably believe that you are functioning better than you really are. ( * —As of July, 2004 ALL states had passed .08 BAC Per Se Laws. The final one took effect in August of 2005.)
0.10 — 0.125 BAC: Significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of good judgment. Speech may be slurred; balance, vision, reaction time and hearing will be impaired. Euphoria. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle at this level of intoxication in all states.
0.13 — 0.15 BAC: Gross motor impairment and lack of physical control. Blurred vision and major loss of balance. Euphoria is reduced and dysphoria* is beginning to appear. Judgment and perception are severely impaired.
( * —Dysphoria: An emotional state of anxiety, depression, or unease.)
0.16 — 0.19 BAC: Dysphoria predominates, nausea may appear. The drinker has the appearance of a "sloppy drunk."
0.20 BAC: Feeling dazed/confused or otherwise disoriented. May need help to stand/walk. If you injure yourself you may not feel the pain. Some people have nausea and vomiting at this level. The gag reflex is impaired and you can choke if you do vomit. Blackouts are likely at this level so you may not remember what has happened.
0.25 BAC: All mental, physical and sensory functions are severely impaired. Increased risk of asphyxiation from choking on vomit and of seriously injuring yourself by falls or other accidents.
0.30 BAC: STUPOR. You have little comprehension of where you are. You may pass out suddenly and be difficult to awaken.
0.35 BAC: Coma is possible. This is the level of surgical anesthesia.
0.40 BAC and up: Onset of coma, and possible death due to respiratory arrest.
Of Oklahoma's reported alcohol/drug-related crashes...
- 51.5% involved one vehicle.
- 44.2% occurred between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.
- 23.8% occurred on Saturday.
(Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO), 2005 statistics.
GET THE KEYS: How You Can Intervene
The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and The Advertising Council's Innocent Victims public service campaign emphasizes the need to intervene and get the keys away from someone about to drive drunk.
Here are some helpful tips and advice from focus group research on how people can get the keys away from a drunk driver:
|1.||If it is a close friend, try and use a soft, calm approach at first. Suggest to them that they’ve had too much to drink and it would be better if someone else drove or if they took a cab.
|2.||Be calm. Joke about it. Make light of it.
|3.||Try to make it sound like you are doing them a favor.
|4.||If it is somebody you don’t know well, speak to their friends and have them make an attempt to persuade them to hand over the keys. Usually they will listen.
|5.||If it’s a good friend, spouse, or significant other, tell them that if they insist on driving, you are not going with them. Suggest that you will call someone else for a ride, take a cab, or walk.
|6.||Locate their keys while they are preoccupied and take them away. Most likely, they will think they’ve lost them and will be forced to find another mode of transportation.
|7.||If possible, avoid embarrassing the person or being confrontational, particularly when dealing with men. This makes them appear vulnerable to alcohol and its effects.
Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk.
Pass It On.