The Common Myths of Drinking and Driving

December 17, 2012

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, people are more likely to die in an alcohol-related crash around Christmas and New Year’s than any other time of the year. While this might seem tragically predictable, many of those fatal accidents occur because of the persistent myths that follow drinking and driving.

This blog post will outline some common myths, and the facts that disprove them, about drinking and driving.

Myth: “I’m not slurring my words and I can walk without falling over. I can drive perfectly.”

Fact: Unfortunately, not everyone who is impaired shows physical signs. The only way to know if someone is sober enough to drive would be to estimate their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. You can view the BAC chart here.

Myth: “I actually drive more carefully when I’m buzzed.”

Fact: No matter how careful a driver thinks he’s being, alcohol will actually slow down his reaction time and impair his judgment, making it extremely difficult to drive properly. Also, the sedative effects of alcohol, no matter the amount consumed, increases the driver’s risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.

Myth: “I’m young, nothing can happen to me.”

Fact: Young adults actually pose the greatest risk for impaired driving. Not only are they inexperienced drivers, they are also inexperienced drinkers. In December 2010, alcohol-impaired drivers in the US aged 21 to 34 were involved in a higher percentage of fatal crashes than any other age group.

Myth: “I’ve only had a few glasses of wine. It’s not like I was doing shots.”

Fact: A 12 ounce can or bottle of beer, a five ounce serving of wine, and a 1.5 ounce shot of hard liquor all have about the same amount of alcohol. It is hard for anyone to judge their amount of alcohol consumption just by counting the amount of drinks they have had. Moreover, depending on the amount of alcohol in a given drink, it is possible that you can be drunk from only one drink. Mixed drinks, which can combine multiple forms of alcohol with juice or soda, can be particularly potent and “sneak up on you.”

Myth: “I’ve had two cups of coffee, so I’m good.”

Fact: Coffee, cold showers, or exercise might fight drowsiness, but the most important factor affecting the body’s ability to process alcohol is time. Generally, the body needs an hour to process one ounce of alcohol, but there are many factors, including body weight, food consumption, and mood, that can affect that rate.

If you are facing an alcohol-related driving charge, be sure to contact, an attorney with Cochran and Chhabra.


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