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How Much Alcohol Can I Legally Consume Before Driving?

Published on May 8, 2018 at 12:13 pm in Legal Information.

Everyone knows that drinking and driving is illegal, but some may not know what the legal limit is. While your tolerance depends on your size, weight, there is one legal limit for everyone. If your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is over .08 percent, you’re driving while intoxicated. Alcohol severely impairs your ability to drive.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop people from getting behind the wheel after they’ve had a few drinks. Drunk drivers often cause car accidents that result in accident injuries and sometimes fatalities. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, an Omaha car accident lawyer from Welsh & Welsh can help you get compensation for your injuries.

What Is a Standard Drink?

It’s important to know what counts as a standard drink of alcohol because there are different percentages of alcohol depending on what drink you get. A U.S. standard drink usually has 14 grams of alcohol.

Standard Drinks:

  • A regular 12 fluid oz. can of beer contains about 5 percent of alcohol.
  • An 8-9 fluid oz. glass of malt liquor has 7 percent of alcohol.
  • A 5 fluid oz of wine has about 12 percent of alcohol.
  • 5 fluid oz shots of spirits like gin, whiskey, tequila, etc. contains about 40 percent of alcohol.

When you’re going to drink, plan accordingly because the alcohol you choose will affect your BAC levels. Pacing also affect your BAC. Having a glass of water after a drink or drinking on a full stomach will help keep you from getting too intoxicated to drive. Letting hours pass after having a drink will give it time to get out of your system.

How BAC Levels Affect Driving

Even though the legal limit is .08, any kind of BAC level will have an effect on your driving. There’s a chance that alcohol could contribute to an accident without it being over .08.

  • .02. At this low level, you’re still not going to be as attentive as you would be if you were sober. You have slight loss of judgement and won’t be able to accurately track moving objects while driving.
  • .05. This BAC level gives you impaired judgement, having trouble focusing, and will have poor coordination while driving.
  • .08. At the legal limit, you have issues balancing, speaking, reacting to danger, and your reasonings skills are affected. When driving, you will have difficulty concentrating on the road, controlling the car’s speed, and registering what other cars are doing around you.
  • .10. When you’re past the legal limit, this is where drunk driving becomes extremely dangerous. Your ability to react is slowed significantly and as a driver, you probably won’t be able to stay in your lane or operate the brakes.
  • .15. At this point, you’re at risk of getting sick, passing out, and can barely walk. Your driving skills are severely impaired and can’t process the necessary information to drive.

If you’re concerned about driving safely after you’ve been drinking, consider having a designated driver in your group. You could also ditch the idea of driving entirely and use a rideshare service. This way, you can enjoy your evening because you know how you and your friends are getting home safely.