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How does alcohol affect driving ability?

All motorists must conduct themselves safely on the road to avoid accidents. This is especially crucial when it comes to alcohol, as even a relatively small amount can negatively impact a person’s driving ability.

That is why you must understand how many drinks it takes to become inebriated based on standard drink sizes. This guide explains a few key details to keep you safe during your next night out.

What is a standard drink size?

Alcoholic drinks have various levels of potency. For example, beer is usually 5% alcohol content, so it comes in a 12-ounce glass. Liquor and spirits are far more potent, so a beverage with a 40% alcohol content comes in a 1.5-ounce glass, also known as a shot.

Understanding the standard drink size is crucial to avoid getting too drunk to drive. If you drink more than the standard size, you will become inebriated at a much faster rate, particularly when drinking highly potent beverages.

When it comes to driving, motorists cannot operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. While it can depend on a person’s size and other factors, about four standard alcoholic beverages can elevate BAC to the legal limit. At this point, a person will experience problems concentrating, poor muscle control, and loss of short-term memory.

Having another drink will bring a person’s BAC to .10%. Impairment becomes even more pronounced, especially when it comes to a driver’s reaction time. Just two more drinks and BAC can reach .15%. Issues with balance, lack of attention, and issues processing visual information are all likely.

Being a safe, responsible driver entails avoiding alcohol when behind the wheel. If you plan on drinking during a night out, consider scheduling a ride share or enlisting a friend to serve as the designated driver.