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Even as few as three drinks could cause a drunk driving accident

Relaxing after a long day with a beer, a glass of wine or a cocktail is routine for some people in California, while others only drink at social events. In this post we will explore the link between a person's blood alcohol concentration, the effects on the body and how it impairs the ability to drive.

After about three drinks, a person's BAC is typically about 0.05 percent. The person's behavior may be exaggerated and the person may feel less inhibited. Judgment and alertness may be impaired and there may be some loss of small-muscle control. When driving, the person may find coordination and the ability to follow moving objects is affected. Steering the vehicle may become difficult, and responses in an emergency situation may be lowered.

After about four drinks, a person's BAC is usually about 0.08 percent. This is the legal limit, at which a person is considered a drunk driver. The person may experience poor muscle control. It may be more difficult for the person to detect danger, and judgment, memory, self-control and reasoning are affected. When it comes to driving, a driver may not be able to concentrate or control speed. Perception may be impaired and driver's may experience short-term memory loss. They may also experience a reduction in the ability to process information.

After about five drinks, a person's BAC could be as high as 0.10 percent. At this point, the person's reaction time, control and ability to think will be clearly deteriorated. Speech will be slurred and coordination will be poor. When driving a person may weave between lanes and be unable to brake appropriately.

Finally, after about seven drinks, a person's BAC might climb to 0.15 percent. The person's muscle control will be greatly deteriorated and there may be vomiting or loss of balance. When driving there will be a significant impairment in the ability to control the vehicle, pay attention to the road and process information.

As this shows, even as few as three drinks can affect your ability to drive. Therefore, no one should simply assume they are sober enough to drive if they have been drinking. Instead, ride with a designated driver, take a taxi home or stay where you are until you sober up, in order to avoid causing a drunk driving accident.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "What are the effects of blood alcohol concentration (BAC)?," accessed Oct. 3, 2016

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