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When is someone too drunk to drive?

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2023 | Drunk Driving |

You know that drinking and driving is dangerous, but what if you have just had one drink or if you feel completely sober? To pass a breathalyzer test, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) should be less than .08%, but it would be difficult to measure this without a device. Instead, you can watch out for signs of intoxication to prevent yourself or someone you know from drunk driving.

Signs of intoxication

Reactions to alcohol can vary. Some may feel more withdrawn, while others start to get more vocal.  Generally, if alcohol starts to make you act differently than usual, you should not get behind the wheel.

Here are some examples:

  • Smelling strongly of alcohol
  • Talking slowly
  • Inability to walk without stumbling or bumping into objects or people
  • Being louder or quieter
  • Becoming aggressive
  • Drinking too quickly
  • Using inappropriate language

How to help someone realize how drunk they are

If you suspect someone is too drunk to drive but they do not want to listen, consider helping them realize it. There are a few ways you can do to gauge how drunk someone is before allowing them to leave. If they cannot pass these tests, they should not be driving.

Question and answer

Simple question-and-answer tests such as asking someone to count by odd or even numbers, can show they are of sound mind and body. You may also ask them to recall a specific event or name their family members.

Walk in a straight line

Find a straight line on the ground and have the drunk individual walk from one to the other without stumbling. If they cannot, they probably should not be driving.

One leg stand

Ask the individual to stand on one leg for a couple of seconds. If they start to sway or have trouble following instructions, it could be because of the alcohol in their system.

Keep in mind that these tests do not accurately measure intoxication, so it is still best to err on the side of caution.

By lowering our inhibitions, alcohol impairs judgment and increases the risk of making poor decisions. If you or someone you know has had anything to drink, the safest thing to do is to stay off the road.