“Every day, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This is one death every 50 minutes,” according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). It’s important to evaluate your warning signs of impairment. If you have consumed ANY alcohol, you should not get behind the wheel. You should call a taxi, friend or other driving service.
Buzzed Driving Defined
Driving when exhibiting signs of impairment is buzzed driving. The effects of alcohol in a person varies depending on several factors: gender, weight, metabolism and how much, how quickly and the type of alcohol consumed. Food consumption is also known to slow absorption of alcohol.
Signs of Impairment
- Feeling of euphoria
- Inhibitions decline
- Poor depth perception
- Loss of balance
- Vision blurriness
- Poor coordination
- Staggered walking
- Sense of confusion
To be clear, you do not have to exhibit all of these symptoms to be impaired. You should not operate a motor vehicle if you have consumed any alcohol. Make arrangements to secure a safe and sober ride home.
Stages of Alcohol Consumption
It can sometimes be difficult to detect what stage a person is in, especially since there are so many contributing factors that directly affect blood alcohol content (BAC). A chart from the University of Oklahoma Department of Medicine shows the varying degrees of impairment and BAC levels.
- .01 – .05 Subclinical
- .03 – .12 Euphoria
- .09 – .25 Excitement
- .18 – .30 Confusion
- .25 – .40 Stupor
- .35 – .50 Coma
- .45+ Death
How to Stay Safe
- Secure a ride. If you know you will be consuming any amount of alcohol and travel is required, make a plan! Have a friend on-call to pick you up or make sure your prefered car service (taxi, Uber, Lyft) is lined up.
- Charge your cell phone. Ensure your phone is at maximum battery life so that you are able to call a friend, car service or make emergency calls.
- Stay hydrated and fed. Alternate alcoholic beverages with glasses of water. It’s also important to not drink on an empty stomach. Food does slow the absorption of alcohol.
- Alert a friend or family member of your plans. It’s always a responsible idea to let a few other people know about your plans if you will be consuming alcohol.
When in doubt, err on the side of caution. It isn’t worth your life, the lives of those around you, or the hefty fines and criminal charges to get behind the wheel impaired. Always drink responsibly and remember that it is illegal for those under the age of 21 to consume alcohol, period.
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