Let’s start by saying that drinking and driving are two activities that should never go together. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, how much you had to drink, or if you ate before you started drinking. The safest thing you can do is to not drive at all.
Stopping this from happening is like trying to catch a sunray in a glass bottle. However, we can give the best advice possible on how long to wait if you have been drinking. Because even the people who allow this to happen, want to avoid a DUI and traffic school.
The Safest Way Is To NOT Drink and Drive
Sadly, when people drink and drive they think more about the ticket and the possible online traffic school course than their safety and the safety of other drivers. So, if you drove to a party or a fun business event, and you plan to drink, or you didn’t plan but you realized that is going to happen, what do you do?
The best thing you can do is stay there, sleepover. Or if you really have to get home, get a cab, find a bus, ask a sober friend to drive you home. Do anything you can rather than driving, even if you have to walk for a portion of the way, you are much more likely to get home in one piece than if driving under influence.
You might think that you can take alcohol well or that you didn’t drink that much, or that your experience will protect you. But, the reality is that blood alcohol content or BAC of 0.08 is too dangerous to allow. The maximum legal BAC is already enough to slow your coordination and reaction time and make you sleepy. It is simply too dangerous to drive with a higher alcohol concentration in your blood.
So, How Long After Drinking Is It Safe to Drive?
You have probably learned this in driver’s ed, but you might have forgotten it. People’s bodies react to alcohol in various ways. Even if you were to put two friends of roughly the same age, weight, and height they could have different reactions to the same number of drinks.
However, even with many factors at play, we can say that, in general, the liver can process around one ounce of alcohol per hour, so around one drink. If you want a rule that you can follow, then consider waiting one hour for each drink you had. But this can also vary.
But You Don’t Feel Intoxicated, Should You Drive?
Absolutely not! This is where tolerance comes into play. You see, if you are drinking regularly, your body builds a natural tolerance to alcohol. Usually, people who drink often need more drinks to feel the same effects as someone without tolerance after a drink or two.
The problem with tolerance is it gives you the illusion that you are fine. However, if you were pulled over and showed you have a BAC of 0.09, you would be considered driving drunk, and charged with a DUI.
A DUI is much more serious than a parking ticket. In most states, you will get two or more points on your driving license. And you could be looking at a license suspension or at least a restriction.
Wait Long Enough, Avoid Traffic School
The key is waiting long enough. Ideally overnight, as we already mentioned. Just to put it into perspective, it could take your body around six hours to go from 0.08 BAC to 0.00.
And you can still feel intoxicated even after following the one-hour rule. That is why the safest way to drink and get home is to sleep it off or have somebody else drive you.
The latter can be an especially great option among a group of friends. One of you can be the “sober driver” while the rest is free to drink. And you can change roles each weekend. The point is to have one person in complete control of their senses and ready to drive.