Can I Have Just One Drink and Be Safe To Drive?
Bill Allen | January 8, 2024 | Car Accidents
As driving while intoxicated increases the likelihood of accidents that result in death, every state in the country enforces drunk driving laws that define what it means to be drunk based on an individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC).
The correlation between drinking alcohol and being intoxicated isn’t always clear. Some people get intoxicated after only a single drink, while others may require well more than four. Furthermore, even if you aren’t drunk, your motor controls can be disrupted by alcohol consumption.
That, of course, leads to the obvious question: Can you have one drink and drive?
The Legal Alcohol Limit In Florida
Florida defines the legal alcohol limit as a BAC of 0.08. Depending on the weight of the person drinking, reaching that level usually requires between two and five drinks. Your BAC will slowly decrease if you cease drinking alcohol, but dropping back to zero from a BAC of 0.08 usually takes about five to six hours.
If you are charged with driving while past the legal drink drive limit, you will be charged with the crime of driving under the influence (DUI). The penalties for a DUI involve jail time, fines, and the revocation of your driver’s license.
Can You Drive After One Drink?
Most people who drink alcohol and have a driver’s license have driven after drinking at least a single drink. In fact, of all Americans, between 63% and 77% admit to driving after consuming some amount of alcohol, according to the American Addiction Centers.
Nevertheless, people experience at least a minor amount of impairment with any amount of alcohol. Even before you are fully intoxicated (that is, before you are “buzzed”), you will still experience an impairment in your ability to visually track moving objects, which means you will have trouble identifying other cars, bikes, or pedestrians on the road.
Coordination and reaction time are next to become impaired before you succumb to full-blown legal intoxication. As such, even if you are aware of a danger, you are unlikely to be able to react in time to avoid a car accident.
No matter your weight, impairment will kick in at some point during your first drink. If you are light, you will likely experience higher degrees of impairment with only a single alcoholic beverage.
Other Dangers of Driving Impaired
Even when you are mildly impaired, you are likely to ignore traffic laws unintentionally. For example, you are more likely to do the following:
- Run a stop sign
- Fail to signal
- Drift into other lanes
Even if these activities don’t result in an accident, they can result in a ticket and an arrest.
How To Avoid Driving While Impaired
The simplest solution to avoiding driving while impaired is to simply not drive if you have imbibed alcohol at any time in the last 24 hours. It’s simply not worth the risk, both to you and others on the road.
If you are planning to attend an event where you will be drinking, have someone else drive you to and from the venue or use public transportation.
Never Drink and Drive
While many interpret drinking and driving as driving drunk, they are not entirely the same. Nevertheless, drinking any amount of alcohol will impair your ability to drive, regardless of whether you are legally drunk. Avoid getting into a driver’s seat after drinking, and you will avoid a whole slew of legal consequences.
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