Most adults can responsibly consume alcohol and then drive themselves home later without breaking the law or endangering anyone. When you understand how your body handles alcohol, you can make good decisions while out of the bar or socializing with friends.
Even if you time your drinks and limit your consumption, the wrong practices while consuming alcohol could increase your risk of significant chemical impairment and therefore a drunk driving arrest.
What behaviors might increase the impact of alcohol when you drink?
Skipping lunch before heading to happy hour
Drinking on an empty stomach will magnify the impact of alcohol. There will be nothing to help absorb the drink, which means it may hit you faster and harder than it would if you enjoyed the same drink after a meal or while eating.
Switching your usual IPA for a Manhattan
Even if it is technically the same number of drinks, switching from a standard beverage to one that you don’t usually enjoy could lead to more impairment. If the bartender tends to pour heavy, your mixed drink might have a shot and a half in it instead of just a single shot of alcohol, making it more potent than a beer. If you want to switch your drink out from what you usually enjoy, you may want to give yourself a little extra time before you try to drive home to stay safe.
Having “one last drink for the road”
Ordering a final drink and downing it quickly before you leave for home can also be a problem. Just like drinking on an empty stomach, drinking quickly increases the effects of alcohol on your cognition. If you drink an entire beer in two minutes, it will likely result in more impairment than the same beer enjoyed over half an hour.
Making good choices while out drinking can decrease your risk of getting arrested for drunk driving. If that happens, make sure you take every practical step you can to protect your rights.