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Are You Too Drunk to Drive?
Heart picture being ripped.

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, you’re at the bar, and you’ve had a few drinks. And, unfortunately, for the alcohol consumers, St. Patrick’s Day is on a Thursday this year. You likely don’t want to deal with the hassle of getting an Uber, going home, getting up early to pay for another Uber, finding your car, then driving to work. So, you may be wondering, “Am I too drunk to drive?” While the question of whether or not you are functionally too impared to drive varies too much from person to person to definitively answer, our advice makes things quite simple. If you have ingested alcohol, you should not operate a motor vehicle.

The Effect of Alcohol

How a single drink affects a person varies from person to person. Furthermore, how a single drink affects a person can vary depending on how much that person has had to eat, how hydrated they are, and many other things. It is possible for two drinks to not have an effect on you one day and, another day, the same two drinks have a stronger effect on you. Because of this, it may be difficult for you to accurately predict how many drinks will make you impaired. For this reason, you shouldn’t limit yourself to a number of drinks just so you’ll be able to drive home. Instead, limit yourself to a responsible amount of alcohol and make arrangements for the ride home prior to drinking.

Making Decisions about Impairment while Impaired

Most Millennial and Gen Z people can remember putting on the “drunk goggles” in school and attempting to walk a straight line. If you’ve never been intoxicated, you may wonder how anyone on Earth would get in a car drunkespecially with that kind of vision! However, many people who have been intoxicated will tell you that they feel as though they can drive, even though they’ve had a couple of drinks. The reason for this is simple: they’re making a judgment about their impairment while their judgment is impaired. When you are intoxicated, it may be difficult to be able to discern your level of impairment. If you have had alcohol, especially enough to feel a buzz, you should not risk driving. You may be more intoxicated than you realize.

Tolerance Plays Tricks

Though it is possible to build up a tolerance to alcohol, tolerance doesn’t affect your blood alcohol content. This means that, although you can drink eight beers without falling over, your blood alcohol content will still reflect eight beers. Furthermore, building up a tolerance to alcohol does not mean that you can drink more and still operate a motor vehicle safely. Tolerance can mean that you’re less likely to slur your words, stumble, or vomit. However, tolerance will not affect your vision, or your reaction time. So, even if you do have a tolerance, you can still be legally intoxicated, and unsafe to drive. Also, tolerance can further limit your ability to accurately determine your level of impairment. 

Getting Sober

Despite what people may have told you anecdotally, there is no get sober quick trick. However, you can start getting sober by eating something. Also, since St. Patrick’s Day is on a Thursday, you will want to drink at least 8 ounces of water for every drink you have. While this may not have the largest impact on your sobriety, being dehydrated can make the effects of alcohol more profound. You should also consider taking an aspirin or ibuprofen before going to bed. Most importantly, you should also take at least an eight hour snooze before driving. Depending on how much alcohol you’ve had, it can take over twelve hours to completely sober up. If you wake up, and you feel as though you’re still intoxicated, do not get behind the wheel. Go back to sleep and wait until you’re certain that you’re completely sober before driving.

The True Cost of Drunk Driving

In a lot of cases, driving under the influence has a much larger price tag than intoxicated drivers realize. Sure, you may have to pay a fine for a ticket. You may have to pay court fees, wear the tracking device, pay an attorney, rent the breathalyzer device for your car, or spend time in jail. Driving under the influence may also cost the lives of innocent people. In 2022, at the time of writing this post, 274 accidents have happened due to drunk drivers. Out of these accidents, there were 146 injuries. Tragically, there were four fatalities. Though personal injury attorneys can help victims of negligence win compensation for their injuries, no amount of compensation can bring back a loved one. The people who were fatally injured in drunk driving accidents had families and friends: they were someone’s daughter, or son. They could have been someone’s mother, father, husband, wife, brother, or sister as well. This St. Patrick’s Day, do not be the reason a family remembers the holiday as the day they lost a loved one. Drink responsibly, and arrange for a safe ride home.