How to Avoid a DUI: The First Line of Defense
Whether you’re in New York, California or anywhere in between, drinking and driving is a serious issue with serious consequences. The statistics are still startling: 30% of motor vehicle fatalities are caused by an alcohol-impaired driver, despite an overall decrease in drunk driving incidents nationwide. The average blood alcohol level of drivers can be as high as .15% or about of 7 drinks per hour for a healthy, 200 pound male.
Across the nation stricter limits have been imposed to curb drinking and driving. In most states blood alcohol levels have been dropped by 0.10% to 0.08%, which means fewer drinks can set you over the limit. Mississippi’s implied consent law makes it hard to avoid DUIs; you cannot legally refuse to take a Breathalyzer by invoking your rights. So how can you keep yourself out of trouble?
The first line of defense is simply not to drink at all. Find a designated driver who will willingly take the wheel despite spending the whole night drinking soda, someone trustworthy who won’t have “just one drink.”
No driver? Get someone to pick you up or call a cab. Think of this way: The $40 you drop for a short cab ride is still a lot less than $250-$1000 fine you’ll end up forking over to the county judge (that is, if this is your first time offense). It can also mean community service, ignition interlocks and higher insurance premiums.
Know What 0.08 Looks Like
Eyeballing it can be dangerous because alcohol levels in spirits, wines and beers vary. It also depends on your sex, metabolism and general state. Fatigued, medicated or hungry persons tend to get drunk faster.
Men tend to metabolize alcohol faster simply because they have more muscle mass. However, it only takes 3 beers for the average 180 pound male to reach a BAC of 0.08. The same amount of whiskey will send the same male well over a .11 BAC simply because whiskey contains more alcohol.
Take Preventive Measures
If you have difficulty controlling your alcohol intake, take preventive measures before you even show up at the bar. Give the bartender or someone you trust your keys. Drink in places you can walk from, like a neighborhood bar. Have a house party instead and bring the alcohol to you.
Don’t Believe the Bull
Don’t believe the legends that drinking plenty of water or having a heavy meal before a hardcore drinking session can keep you alert on the road. While water flushes alcohol out of your system, it takes over 24 hours for a large binge to leave you body. Overloading on caffeine or energy drinks before driving off can make you feel alert, but you won’t be. You just feel that you are. This will make you feel like you’re driving safely, even if you’re taking risks on the road.