woman with cocktail - Ruslan Olinchuk

Some facts:

You are legally drunk when your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) reaches 0.08%. Basically, you will be convicted of drunk driving at this point. No other evidence is needed.

Legal limits, however, do not define a level below which it is safe to operate a vehicle. Impairment due to alcohol begins at levels well below the legal limit.

Or, in other words, you can be convicted of drunk driving with a lower BAC if the arresting officer thinks you are too impaired to drive safely.

So when are you too impaired to drive safely?

Studies show that people are impaired even after a small amount of alcohol.

With a BAC of .02 people start to show some loss of judgment. They also begin to relax and feel good. Drivers show a decline in visual functions, affecting their ability follow a moving object, and a decline the ability of multitasking.

Reactions to alcohol vary

The tricky part is that not all individuals react the same way. Reactions to alcohol are influenced by many factors, such as:

  • Weight.
  • Age.
  • Gender.
  • Race or ethnicity.
  • Amount of food consumed before drinking.
  • Physical condition.
  • Use of drugs or other medicines.
  • How quickly the alcohol was consumed.

Now you guessed it: it is impossible to predict exactly how any individual will respond to alcohol because every person and every situation are unique. How we define one drink can differ too.

What most experts agree on

To some degree everyone is affected by one drink, however that is defined. One drink can also affect your driving.

With two or more drinks in your bloodstream, you are usually not fit to drive.

The safe way

Don’t drive at all. Not even after one drink.

Read more at: nhtsa.gov