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How drinking affects your driving

A swerve that leads to a DUI, going the wrong-way on a one-way road that leads to a head-on crash, running a red light and t-boning another car or driving your vehicle through a building. These are some of the worst-case scenarios that can happen when you drink and drive without mentioning the injuries or fatalities that could occur due to these accidents. Drinking undoubtedly impairs your ability to drive.

Impaired driving is a big problem. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10,497 people died due to alcohol-impaired driving in 2016. When it comes to children killed in traffic crashes, an alcohol-impaired driver was part of 17% of those crashes.

The measurement of alcohol in your system is labeled your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Often, a person’s BAC is higher than they would guess. The higher your BAC level, the worse your reaction time. The standard reaction time lost when your BAC reaches the maximum legal limit of 0.08% is just over one-tenth of a second. At this rate, a drunk driver travels an additional 12 feet before reacting to a stop sign or another hazard.

More drinks, more side-effects

Before diving into this, be aware that many external factors can affect how your body metabolizes alcohol. For the average 160-pound male, the following amount of drinks consumed will lead to the subsequent BAC level and side-effects. Be aware, that most women will see a higher BAC than men when consuming the same number of drinks. This is due to women usually weighing less than men and having fewer enzymes in their bodies to help metabolize alcohol.

  • Two drinks will lead to a BAC reading of 0.02%
    • Side Effects can include: slightly blurred vision, inability to multitask, loss of judgement and an altered mood.
  • Three drinks will lead to a BAC reading of 0.05%
    • Side effects can include the above mentioned plus: reduced coordination, reduced reaction time, difficulty steering and a slower response when reacting to hazardous driving situations.
  • Four drinks will lead to a BAC reading of 0.08%
    • Side effects can include the above mentioned plus: short-term memory loss, lack of speed awareness while driving, impaired perception and self-control.
  • Five drinks will lead to a BAC reading of .10%
    • Side effects can include all the above plus: major deterioration of your reaction time, inability to stay in your lane, reduced ability to brake properly, and slurred speech.
  • Seven drinks will lead to a BAC reading of .15%
    • Side Effects can include all the above plus: failing to properly control the vehicle in all aspects, the inability to process audible information, increasingly poor balance and vomiting.

Whenever you’re on the road, it’s possible you’ll be a part of a car crash but take the proper steps and precautions to better your chances of not becoming another statistic.

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Christopher A. Wellborn, P.A.
142 Oakland Avenue, Suite C
Rock Hill, SC 29730

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