This is an advertisement

A General Service Law Firm With Local Roots

How long after drinking is it safe for me to drive?

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2023 | Criminal Law, DUI Defense |

If you are drinking at a party, festival or bar this summer, and are considering driving home afterwards you might wonder if it is safe to do so. After all, causing a car crash after consuming alcohol is always a possibility even if your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is below the legal limit.

Alcohol metabolization

It is not really possible to quantify exactly when you might be safe to drive after drinking, as many biological factors combine that make alcohol affect each person differently. For example, a person with more muscle mass will metabolize alcohol differently from someone with less muscle mass.

Gender and weight can also play a role in alcohol metabolization. Whether one was drinking on a full or empty stomach can also affect alcohol metabolization. Finally, whether a person had consumed other substances such as recreational drugs or certain medications can also impact how long they will feel the effects of alcohol.

What about BAC?

“But what about BAC?” you might wonder. After all, police will use BAC to determine if a person is legally intoxicated.

While a BAC of 0.08 is the legal limit for alcohol intoxication and driving, the fact is that even having a BAC lower than 0.08 can affect a person’s ability to drive safely. Even if a person has only had a couple drinks, they might still experience a reduction in coordination and reaction time, both of which can make driving unsafe.

A person who is under the influence of alcohol can easily cause a motor vehicle accident. This is true regardless of whether they consumed as few as one or two drinks or as many as five or six drinks. Even if a motorist is not legally intoxicated to the point of criminal liability, they can still face a civil lawsuit if their intoxication played a role in a subsequent car wreck. Simply put, those who choose to drive after drinking must understand they are taking a risk that could lead to a potential car crash.