The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) while driving is 0.08 percent in most states. But did you know that you can feel intoxicated and end up impaired far before you hit that number? On the other hand, you can also still feel fine and functional long after you pass it.
BAC levels and feelings of sobriety do not necessarily go hand in hand. Unfortunately, this makes it hard to determine whether or not you are actually good to drive after you have a drink.
BAC level breakdown
American Addiction Centers examines how you will likely feel at different levels of intoxication. This is a general guideline that does not always fit every person, though. But generally speaking, you can break it down as follows:
- At 0.02 percent, you may make poor judgments and experience relaxation, warmth and an altered mood
- At 0.05 percent, you may speak louder, gesture more and lose control of small muscles. This is also the stage where you suffer from impaired vision and judgment, along with reduced coordination
- At 0.08 percent, you will suffer in terms of balance, speech, hearing, coordination and reaction times, along with a worsening of functions as mentioned in previous categories
- At 0.10 percent or above, you will lose control over muscles, slur your speech, and could even black out
The impact on your body
But alcohol affects every body in different ways. Certain determining factors can include the type of alcohol you drink, your state of health, your body size and weight, your alcohol tolerance and whether or not you ate food before consuming a drink.
It is nearly impossible to tell on your own if you have had “too much”. Thus, many experts suggest not driving even after a single drink to help eliminate the chance of a crash.