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Understanding what happens to you as you consume alcohol

Spending some time with your friends and family provides you with good times, laughs and memories. As part of those gatherings, you may decide to have an alcoholic beverage or two. However, whether you drive for a living or just don’t want to risk getting a DUI, you want to make sure that you don’t get on the road when you shouldn’t.

Understanding how alcohol affects your body may help you stop drinking before it’s too late and know how long you need to wait before you can safely get on the road.

What happens to you at different BAC levels

First, BAC stands for blood alcohol content. This is the amount of alcohol in your system at a particular time. Here in North Carolina, the legal BAC limit is .08. You probably already know that, but you may not know what it actually means for you. Below is an explanation of what happens to your body as your BAC rises:

  • At around .02, your ability to track objects and movements begins to decline, and you may become distracted more easily. You also feel relaxed, and your judgment begins to show signs of impairment.
  • At around .05, you can’t focus your eyes as well and you aren’t as alert. Your response time slows, you can’t steer as well, and your impairment increases.
  • By the time you reach the legal limit of .08, all of your faculties show signs of impairment. Your reaction time to an emergency slows, and you may not be able to respond in time to avoid a collision.

Anything above the legal limit only means that you are less able to drive safely, and the danger increases.

How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit?

The answer to that question varies, depending on a multitude of factors, such as your height, weight and age. It could also hinge on whether you had enough water and food during the day and as you were drinking. Other factors that contribute to an increasing BAC are how much of a break you take between drinks, the type of drinks you have and how long it’s been since your last drink. Certain types of medication and drugs can also affect impairment.

What all of this means for you is that it may be better just to avoid drinking when you know you have to drive. However, if police pull you over after you experience a lapse in judgment, you could end up under arrest on suspicion of DUI. You don’t have to simply accept a conviction. You have the right to challenge any charges that may result.

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