How to Know If You Are Too Drunk to Drive?

October 12, 2018

too drunk to drive

So, you have been hanging out with your friends, or just had a meeting with some colleagues, or were called to a local bar for a chat and a glass of wine. People around you kept saying that you had already had too much to drink, but you still long for another. You needed to get home and your car is parked right outside. You want to know how impaired are you and if it is safe to drive. Let’s look at some ways to help you figure out if you are too drunk to drive.

If you are wondering how drunk you may be or whether you need to call a cab instead of driving yourself; you already have the answer. You should not get behind the wheel. The safest way is if you consume alcohol do not drive. Call a cab or call a friend but do not even approach your vehicle as you can get arrested in some jurisdictions merely because you are in control of the vehicle. If however, you are considering driving despite consuming alcohol, here are some helpful tips that may help you determine if you are impaired.

Never lose count of drinks

One possible way to stay below the legal limit is to track the number of alcoholic drinks you had. For a non-commercial adult driver who is not on a DUI probation, to avoid a violation of California Vehicle Code 23152(b) the blood alcohol level (BAC) in your bloodstream must be not higher than 0.08%. It is calculated as grams of spirits per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of spirits per 210 liters of breath. For an average person, it translates to about one drink per hour. “One drink” refers to one standard glass of wine, one shot of a spirit such as a vodka, or 12 ounces of beer.

Because most people are not average, the individual body characteristics such as weight, height, genders, diet characteristics, medical conditions, the kind of alcohol consumed, psychological state, fatigue, and other individual unique characteristics can affect blood alcohol level. No one knows better than you how quickly you get drunk, or how much you may drink. Be conscious of your limits.

Further, some people might be below the legal limit of .08% but still too drunk to drive. For example, a person who consumes alcohol rarely will be affected by less alcohol and can exhibit the signs of intoxication at a level below .08%. California punishes drivers who are below the legal limit but are still impaired with California Vehicle Code section 23152(a). A conviction of this code section is still a DUI conviction.

Alcohol may stay in your circulatory system for up to 18 hours. As such, taking a quick nap, or a cold shower, or having a strong cup of coffee might increase your ability to focus but it will not reduce the alcohol level in your body beyond your body’s natural alcohol elimination mechanism.

Objective Signs of Alcohol Intoxication

The following are obvious signs of drunkenness:

  • smell of alcohol
  • poor coordination
  • slurred speech or deliberate speech
  • hand tremors
  • changes in facial skin color and/or bloodshot eyes
  • a decrease in sensory perception
  • changes in behavior such as exaggerated gaiety, loud singing/talking, flirting, outrageous language, aggressiveness, etc.

Short-time Memory Loss

When drunk, you may experience short-time memory loss. A good way to check this is for your friends to question you about what you’ve just talked about. They can help you figure out if you are too impaired to drive. If you can’t recall or your thoughts are jumbled together, that may help you determine that you had one too many.

Finger to Nose Test

This is another helpful hint to check whether you are too drunk to drive. All you need is just stay straight, feet together, eyes closed. Touch the tip of your nose several times with the right-hand index finger then the left one. You may also tilt your head back a little bit. If you fail to touch the tip of your nose, you are probably experiencing lack of coordination connected with alcohol impairment.

Online Blood Alcohol Calculators

To work out a more precise level of alcohol concentration in your bloodstream, go to online sites, for example, Educalcool and fill in the form listing your sex, weight, expected number of glasses of a particular alcoholic drinks before, after and with your meals, time when you start drinking and time when you plan to go home. It’s better to make these calculations before you actually start drinking. Mind you, these figures show only an estimate of BAC. It is designed to help you make the right decision, but not decide for you.

Modern Technologies to Help You Avoid DUI

There are numerous breath-alcohol portable devices which may be used at any time to detect blood alcohol level. For example, a breathalyzer is a portable breath in the device that will tell you the alcohol level in your breath. You just breathe into the device and it estimates your BAC. The accuracy of results depends on the price of a breathalyzer and on other personal factors, such as the stage of alcohol metabolism, other unique physiological qualities, and the quality of the alcohol measuring device. With the modern technologies today, you may even measure your BAC with the help of apps on your phone. One of them is Breathometer. You plug it into the audio jack of your smartphone, connect to the special application and blow into its outlet port. If your BAC is beyond the acceptable level, it’ll display names of your friends living nearby, phone numbers of taxi services, or addresses of hotels down the street. Many other apps provide you with the history of your alcohol consumption and BAC levels, so that you may trace your body’s reactions to alcohol.

Field Sobriety Tests

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) established a series of tests to determine if a person is supposedly driving in a state of alcoholic intoxication. These tests, known as Field Sobriety Tests, are conducted by DUI enforcement directly at the scene when they stop an allegedly impaired driver. Performing these tests yourself could be very beneficial when you need to check your level of drunkenness. You will get the most credible results if you perform all three tests.

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test. You will need someone to assist you. Ask this person to move his/her finger or an object slowly back and forth in front of your eyes in the horizontal direction only. The object should be 12 to 15 inches from your face and ideally, it should be a pen or a stylus. Do not turn your neck or head, just track the object with your eyes. If you are sober, your eyes will move smoothly. If you are under the influence of alcohol, your eyes might jerk involuntary. Keep in mind that over 25% of people will display HGN at all times and some people have medical conditions that will cause nystagmus. Because of that, this test alone may not be enough to determine your level of impairment.

Walk-the-Line Test. If you are on your own try to perform the walk-along-the line test. You just need to find flat surface and walk an imaginary line on the ground. Walk 9 steps forward, heel to toe, turn and walk back along the line. Make sure you do not lose balance, or use your arms to keep balance, or leave the line. Even if you’re a bit tipsy you will notice that you are unable to touch heel to tow or that you are stepping off the line and that should be enough to convince you not to get behind the wheel.

The One-Leg Stand (OLS) Test. Try to balance on one foot while your second foot is raised about ground about six inches with your arms to your sides and count until 30. No hopping, swaying, lifting arms from your sides, or touching the ground with your raised foot.

There are lots of other ways to check your impairment level, for example, reciting the alphabet, counting backward, saying tongue twisters, counting fingers by touching each finger to the thumb, doing some physical exercises or mathematic calculations. Yet, the surest method to detect the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is to perform a breath or blood test, which you surely will be asked to do if you are arrested for DUI.

If you were arrested for DUI, call Los Angeles DUI attorney ASAP. It is always better to rely on the experience and knowledge of a skilled professional.

Los Angeles DUI Attorney

(818) 921 7744
 Call anytime to get a free consultation with Los Angeles DUI Attorney.


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