You’ve heard it before: don’t drink and drive. But unfortunately, it still happens. You might have a few drinks at happy hour and assume you‘re still under the U.S. drinking and driving 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit. You think you can make it home safely. Next thing you know, you’re driving in the dark without headlights on and drifting out of your lane. You forget to check your mirrors before switching lanes or swerve off the road. Then the cop lights flash behind you.
Keep in mind that the U.S. federal legal drinking and driving limit is 0.08% but is lower in Utah (0.05%) and in overseas locations.
Driving Buzzed IS Driving Drunk
Drinking even a little bit of alcohol makes it risky to drive. Here’s what happens when your BAC reaches a certain level:
- When your BAC reaches 0.02% you’re not able to multitask as easily. You have a harder time clearly seeing movement, colors and other forms.
- When your BAC reached 0.05% you are less coordinated and less able to respond to emergency situations. You have a harder time steering and tracking moving objects.
- When your BAC reaches 0.08% it becomes harder to detect danger and your perception is off. At this point, you are legally impaired in the U.S., can be arrested and charged with a DUI.
It’s Not Worth the Risk
Even if you think you’re safe to drive, it’s not worth the risk. An average DUI costs more than $7,000. Skip the court costs, revoked license or base driving privileges (the drunk/DUI lot is how far?) and possible injuries/death. Use one of the methods below to avoid driving buzzed or drunk.
- Use a rideshare app or take a cab to get to the party or bar. If you don’t want to pay to get there and back, drive to the location and then get a ride home—your friend can take you to your car the next day.
- Take turns being the designated driver (DD) within your group of friends. Make sure the DD has the car keys and doesn’t drink any alcohol.
- Have a friend or family member drop you off at the bar or party. Set up a time for them to pick you up. Party running late? Crash on your friend’s couch. I’m sure you can repay the favor next time he or she needs to crash at yours!
- Use public transportation when available. Buses and public transportation are great alternatives to driving.
- Walk to your location with a group of people you trust in well-lit areas if it’s safe. Be careful when crossing the street. If it’s late, you’re alone or you’re in an unfamiliar area, find another way home besides walking.
There are tons of options, but whichever you decide, just make sure you have a solid plan for the ride home before you (or your buddy) start drinking.