How to Prevent Unintentional Drinking and Driving

Car breathalyzer

Most states have a legal blood alcohol content level. This means that it is legal to have a drink or two and get behind the wheel. Any more alcohol than this, however, is illegal and can be extremely dangerous. Although most people intend to practice safe alcohol consumption, it can be difficult to establish exactly how much you have had to drink and where the invisible legal line is. The following methods will help you better evaluate your ability to drive after a couple of drinks.

One glass of water following each alcoholic drink

If you are going to have more than one alcoholic drink, make sure you have a glass of water between each one. Drinking alcohol dehydrates the body and causes a higher BAC. While water consumption does not sober you, it can give your body the additional fluids that it needs to lower the BAC level. Although this can keep you more hydrated, it is important not to use this method to also increase your alcohol intake. It will not prevent you from becoming intoxicated and it does not make it safer to drive after multiple alcoholic drinks.

Know your drinking limit

It can also be helpful to know your drinking limit. Some people can handle two drinks and still drive safely, as long as they are below the legal BAC limit. Others can have one drink, still be under the limit, and not feel safe to drive. Of course, you always want to make sure that you are below the legal limit in your state, but you also want to know what you individual drinking limit is. Also, be aware that food intake and medication can affect this usual limit. Even taking over the counter medications or drinking alcoholic drinks that you are not familiar with can change your tolerance level.

Have a backup transportation plan

Even if you do not plan to drink a lot and intend on being able to drive yourself home, it is important to also always have a backup plan. In the event that you drink too much or feel the effects of alcohol sooner than expected, you should always have alternative transportation. This might be a service like Uber installed on your phone for easy contact or it could be a family member or friend that is willing to pick you up and drive you home. This backup transportation plan ensures that you are tempted to drive home because of lack of options.

Install an ignition interlock device into your vehicle

Interlock devices, sometimes known as interlock cups prohibit the engine from starting if the alcohol sensing device registers above whatever the preset level is, which is usually set to around 0.02 BAC but can be higher or even lower. It is best, however, to set your car breathalyzer at a limit that is lower than the legal number, because your BAC can increase while you are driving. Many ignition interlock devices do also account for this by requiring you to test multiple times during the drive. Most ignition interlock devices will prompt you to complete a rolling retest every five to 15 minutes after the vehicle is started and throughout the entire trip. This ignition interlock device is a discreet breathalyzer that reduces your chances of driving while over the limit.

Every day in America, another 28 people die as a result of drunk driving. Most people do not purposely intend to drink and drive. Many do not realize that they are over the limit and believe that they are safe to drive. You can reduce your chances of driving while over the limit by arranging alternative transportation, increasing your water consumption, knowing your individual drinking limit, and installing an ignition interlock device into your vehicle.

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