When teens take driver’s education courses, they are taught about the “legal limit” as it relates to alcohol consumption and an individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Many states impose a zero-tolerance policy for drivers who are under the age of 21, meaning that they cannot lawfully have any alcohol in their system whatsoever.
Yet, for adults who are 21 or older, it is lawful to have a very minor amount of alcohol in one’s bloodstream. As a result, many adults feel safe drinking one or two alcoholic beverages before getting behind the wheel. It is often only after someone has started to feel the effects of alcohol in their bloodstream that they feel compelled to “sober up” before hitting the road.
Myth: Anything but time can speed your sobriety
Unfortunately, many adults who attempt to sober up do so in ways that will not ultimately help their BAC to dip below the legal limit any faster. The reality is that the only thing that mitigates one’s BAC is time. Despite widespread myths to the contrary, eating, chugging water, drinking coffee and taking a cold shower will not sober you up any faster than time.
It is also important to understand that some of these “tried and true” (untrue) methods of sobering up will help you to be more alert. This may give you a false sense of confidence that you are ready to drive home before your BAC has leveled out.
Before you drink and then drive, keep two things in mind: The only thing that reduces an elevated BAC is time, and law enforcement officers can arrest you for impaired driving even if your BAC is dropping when they believe that your driving behaviors are illustrative of impaired judgment. In short, wait until you’re truly sober to head home. If you do make a mistake, however, find out more about your potential defense options.