It’s the Holiday Season! Favorite foods, ugly sweaters, and all varieties of fun are appearing on store shelves. We’ve finally reached the point in the year where we can eat leftover Halloween candy while wondering just how long our Thanksgiving leftovers will hold out – and planning our Holiday Parties and New Year’s Celebrations. The common denominator of most of these parties is alcohol.
If you have a driver’s license it’s a safe bet that part of your written exam involved alcohol. At least if you received it in the last 25-35 years you did. Time for a quick review!
Which of these has more alcohol? A bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a 1-ounce shot of hard liquor?
I hope you remembered this one but just in case you didn’t, they all have the same amount on average – and each should in theory raise your BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) by .02%.
If you’re drinking mixed cocktails, it’s possible that anywhere from 1 to 2.5 ounces of alcohol are in each drink. In New York, with a legal limit of .08%, you could find yourself over the limit with just two mixed drinks.
As an old song by Kenny Rogers will remind you, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold em…” – it’s important to know your limits AND how long it will take you to sober up enough to leave the party safely. On average, it takes a minimum of an hour per drink to return to normalcy – a bit more for ballerinas, and a bit less for linebackers (higher body height/weight = quicker metabolism of alcohol, USUALLY).
If you’re chuckling at this and thinking “I’m too drunk to do math,” then please sit down for an hour and have a glass of water (not coffee – you’ll be wide awake but still drunk).
If you’ve read along with my posts these last few months, you know that nobody loves a good joke more than me, but Driving While Intoxicated (and its shady cousin, Driving With Abilities Impaired) are No Laughing Matter.
DWAI can ruin a great night just as fast as it’s cousin. There’s only one road that will take you to a DWI, but *multiple* routes lead into this lesser-known port. I’ll try to make this a little simpler for you:
Did you have less than 3 drinks and you’re “just a little buzzed”? Your abilities are impaired. Do not drive.
Did you take medication that advised of drowsiness or said “do not operate machinery”? Your abilities are impaired. Do not drive.
Did you pull an all-niter to watch that TV marathon last night and this energy drink is all that’s keeping you going? Your abilities are impaired. Do not drive.
DWI, DWAI, or Driving Under the Influence (aka DUI aka Driving High) carry some brutal penalties – and rightfully so! You’re not just risking your life and the lives of your passengers; you’re risking the life of everyone you pass on your way home. You can lose your license for several months or more. Your auto insurance company will almost definitely drop you and I guarantee you won’t like your replacement policy for the next FIVE YEARS.
Please drive sober. Please know your limits and drink in moderation – and get a ride home if you need one. Your car will be fine, and if it isn’t, a parking ticket is cheaper than a felony.