How much alcohol can you consume before you hit the legal limit and go beyond? If you’re not sure, or your answer starts with an “I think…,” then you are probably putting yourself and others in danger. You’re not alone though, it is the rare person who doesn’t underestimate what alcohol can do to their reaction time when they get behind the wheel. Research shows that despite how much you can safely drink, serious problems can occur after just one or two drinks.
“If I Drink…” is a new simulated drinking application which helps to understand, in a visual way, just how alcohol has affected your ability to drive. Not another blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) test, this one provides a virtual experience at different BAC levels going from stone-cold somber to falling-down-who-was-I-with-last-night intoxication.
The app is simple to use. Just key in a few basic facts such as the type of alcohol and how many drinks. Then let the app know how much you weigh and your gender. You will see a short video of someone trying to drive at the same BAC level. The app will also let you know the possible legal problems you could run into under state law.
Since alcohol is legal for someone over 21 and is a socially acceptable drug, its use is widespread. Alcohol is the most abused drug in America. It’s also one of the most deadly and damaging. The World Health Organization has reported that alcohol is the only cause of over 75,000 deaths each year in America and certain Latin American countries.
The Centers for Disease Control says that at .02 percent BAC, a person loses their judgement and sees deterioration in their ability to do two tasks simultaneously.
At .05, judgement is impaired further and a person has difficulty steering as well as a slowed response to emergency situations.
At .08, the legal limit in the US, reaction time, balance and perception are shot. There is short-term memory loss along with the inability to correctly process information.
Over .10 the problems just get worse until a person passes out. Drunk driving has taken its toll on individuals and families. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one in three people will experience a drunk driving accident in their lifetime.
A person doesn’t have to be over the legal limit to run into problems from drinking alcohol. Even drivers with just a “buzz” or found responsible more often for fatal car crashes than sober drivers. Studies have shown that drivers with a BAC of only .01 percent are twice as likely to be blamed for a crash than a sober person in the same accident.
While many people feel confident that they won’t run into any problems by drinking and driving, continuing research shows that there is no safe level for drinking and driving. The next time you’re planning to have a drink, check out the “If I Drink…” simulated drinking app and learn about the consequences you may face.