It may be common knowledge not to drink and drive, but still the problem continues:
- About 13,000 people are killed a year due to alcohol-related incidents
- Thirty-two percent of fatal car crashes involve an intoxicated driver or pedestrian
- Over 1.4 billion people are arrested for DWI each year, with two-thirds of those sentenced for incarceration being repeat offenders
Even light drinking can start affecting your ability to drive safely. A .08 percent BAC (blood alcohol content) is the legal limit for drivers of legal drinking age in the United States, but you're still putting yourself at risk before then.
At .02, you may begin to experience a lack of judgment, making you more likely to make poor decisions. Your vision also starts to be impaired, and it's more difficult to do multiple things at once, which is a crucial need for driving safely.
At .05, you become more physically impaired. Your eye movements and visual perception are slower, making it more difficult to track moving objects and judge risks. Your reaction time, information processing and coordination is reduced, so you can't respond to emergency situations as quickly or effectively. We still haven't even reached the legal limit yet.
Once you do hit .08, your vision, hearing, reaction time, information-processing, speech and balance have declined even more, making it even harder to detect danger. Even if you're able to acknowledge it, your self-control, judgment and reasoning are impaired, so you can't decide the safest, most effective way to deal with the situation at hand. Your speed control is lost, so you may not even realize that you're speeding when you're way over the limit. Your short-term memory is also reduced, leading to rash decisions and mistakes. As the alcohol level continues to go up, the safety risks just increase from there.
A standard rule of thumb is that drinking one standard drink per hour will keep you within the limits of where it's safe to drink. That's one 12 oz beer, a 5 oz glass of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor. But, there are many factors that affect your BAC including age, gender, body type, general health, metabolism, what you've eaten that day and even your emotional state. So, it may not be that easy to estimate what your level is. If you're unsure, it's always best to err on the side of caution. Remember, even light drinking has an effect on your driving.
Putting yourself and others in danger by drinking and driving, even when you know the risks, is a sign of a problem with alcohol. If you've been struggling with this, it's time to seek help from reputable alcohol treatment centers. Contact Fairwinds Treatment Center right away. Since 1989, Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef and the team at Fairwinds have been using a unique dual diagnosis approach that combines clinical treatment and therapeutic counseling to discover and resolve the underlying psychological factors that lead to alcohol abuse and alcoholism.