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Never Drink and Drive

t's not a question of whether you are legally intoxicated, it's a question of whether or not it is safe to drive when you have consumed any amount of alcohol. Research shows that impairment begins long before a person reaches the blood alcohol concentration level necessary to be guilty of drunken driving.

For the person who is drinking, the above impairments may be hardly noticeable at the time, but the slow reaction times that they can produce could prove fatal in an emergency driving situation. That's why it is not a good idea to drive no matter how much or how little that you have had to drink.

There is another consideration: Alcohol affects people differently. Some people have a higher response to drinking alcohol than others.

Driving involves multiple tasks, the demands of which can change continually. To drive safely, one must maintain alertness, make decisions based on ever-changing information present in the environment, and execute maneuvers based on these decisions. Drinking alcohol impairs a wide range of skills necessary for carrying out these tasks.

Play it smart during weekends and holidays. If you plan to party away from home -- and this includes on the water -- be sure to appoint a designated driver for the car or operator of the boat. Whatever you do, don't get behind the wheel if you've been drinking.

Young people who drink and drive may be particularly at risk for being involved in a motor vehicle accident because they have less experience with driving, and are more likely to engage in risk-taking behavior.


Blood Alcohol Content

When you drink alcohol, it goes directly from your stomach into your bloodstream. Blood alcohol content (BAC), or percentage of alcohol in your blood, can be measured by police with a breathalyzer or blood test.

Because people react differently to the effects of alcohol, it is very difficult for a person to judge his or her own BAC. A person may not feel "drunk," but may still be legally impaired.

There is no way to quickly "sover up"  

Once a person consumes alcohol, it enters the bloodstream, and only time can reduce the concentration of alcohol in the blood. It takes about an hour for the average human body to process and eliminate two-thirds of the alcohol in one standard drink. This rate is constant, meaning that the more you drink, the longer time you need to wait before driving. Drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages might make you more alert, but your ability to drive will still be impaired.