Q: Once in a while, I go out with the girls after work for a couple of drinks and a bite to eat. I never feel “drunk” and I almost always end up driving home. Should I be
worried about driving?
A: That’s a good question, with a different answer for everyperson. It varies with weight and metabolism rates, as well as your personal mental health attitude that day.
If you’re stressed, for example, alcohol has a heightened effect
on you and you’ll show more signs of impairment. How much
you’ve eaten certainly affects your alcohol levels, as well.
As a rough guide, a person at 150 pounds (68 kg) who has
one drink will take around two hours to get rid of that alcohol.
A person who is 215 pounds (97.7 kg) will take just over an
hour to get rid of a drink.
A lot of people say once they’ve had one drink, that’s it for
them and they will get a ride home. You don’t have to be over
the legal limit to be charged with impaired driving. If you
have had one drink and show signs of impairment, you can be
charged. This also applies to people impaired by drugs. Some
people may very well be impaired after having just one drink or
a couple of strong painkillers.
If you think you might possibly cross or have crossed any line
in terms of drinking and driving, then let someone who hasn’t
been drinking drive you home.
If you go out for dinner and have a glass of wine or a beer
with supper, you’ll probably be OK. If your dinner takes an
hour and a half or two hours to finish and you have one drink
with your meal, by the time you leave the restaurant, you likely
won’t have any alcohol in your system.
But if you have more than one or two drinks, then yes, you could
be too intoxicated to get behind the wheel. So get a ride home.
Roughly speaking, each drink—one ounce ( 30 ml) of distilled
spirits, a glass of wine (six ounces or 177 ml) or 12 ounces (355
ml) of beer—contains about .54 ounces of alcohol.
At a party, pour your own drinks so you know how much
you’re pouring. If someone else pours you a drink, they could
be pouring two or three ounces, and one drink would put you
over the limit.
Constable Bruce Falk is the alcohol co-ordinator for the Calgary Police Service.
What is blood alcohol
Blood alcohol concentration is a way of measuring
the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. Blood
tests can determine BAC, as can a Breathalyzer,
which is able to determine the BAC from the air
When you’re drinking, know that by the time you
had too much to be driving. Remember, the legal
limit for impaired driving is .08 (80 milligrams of
alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood) in Alberta and
even lower in B.C. and Ontario. At . 12 BAC, many
people start feeling nauseous and at . 15, they may
be walking and talking funny.
Everyone reacts to alcohol differently, but a high
BAC level is a dangerous thing. At . 30 BAC, most
people will pass out. Levels of . 40 and higher can
mean blood poisoning and risk of death.
Alcohol and intoxication
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