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After drinking, you may have to wait longer than you think before driving

We all know the effects of alcohol on drivers. But many people think they can handle driving when the effect of the alcohol they consumed has not yet worn off.

In 2018, the California Office of Traffic Safety reported that there were more than 1,000 deaths in California caused by driving under the influence of alcohol. Therefore, knowing how to gauge your own sobriety is important in preventing accidents and the possibility of criminal charges for drunk driving.

Factors to consider

There are several factors that determine how long you will have to wait before driving. The average person can metabolize approximately one unit of alcohol – or one ounce of liquor – per hour. However, one alcoholic beverage may contain more than one unit of alcohol. For example, one pint of beer will usually require two hours to metabolize. A large glass of wine may take three hours for the body to process.

In addition, you may have to wait even longer before driving if you have a small body mass, or if you haven’t eaten for several hours.

Myths about sobering up

There are many myths about tricks that can help you sober up quickly after consuming alcohol. Some believe that consuming coffee, water, milk or bread can help a drunk person drive safely. Another myth is that taking a cold shower can expedite the process of sobering up. While such practices could offer other benefits – such as making you feel more alert or hydrating your body – they do nothing to help flush the alcohol out of your system or reduce your blood alcohol content. Relying on such myths can give you false confidence about getting behind the wheel.

The consequences of a drunk driving accident can be horrible and permanent. Getting behind the wheel is not a risk worth taking. When in doubt, it is better to wait before driving – or to call a taxi.

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