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The relationship between BAC and safe driving

The legal blood alcohol concentration limit here in Illinois is 0.08%. However, that does not give a free pass to anyone with a BAC lower than that. Alcohol affects people differently, and even a couple of drinks could be enough to make someone's driving unsafe.

The more you know about the relationship between the consumption of alcohol and its effects on driving ability, the more likely you are to make sure you don't drive with any alcohol in your system.

What influences your BAC and impairment level?

As mentioned above, everyone reacts differently to alcohol. While it may take more alcohol for one person to feel a "buzz," it may only take one drink for someone else. Some of the factors that influence your impairment level and BAC include the following:

  • Your gender
  • Your body size
  • Your physical condition
  • What and when you last ate
  • Medications you may take
  • Amount of sleep you had

The other factor that obviously makes a difference is how much alcohol is in your drinks since not all alcoholic drinks are equal. Wine and beer obviously don't have the same amount of alcohol in them as liquor or distilled spirits.

The effects of one or two drinks

Depending on your choice of drink, your BAC could reach 0.02% in just one or two drinks. At this point, you experience the following effects:

  • Relaxation
  • Feeling of warmth
  • Decline in ability to multitask
  • Loss of some judgment
  • Decline in visual functions
  • Altered mood

You may not be legally drunk, but the alcohol is affecting you enough that you may not make the right choices behind the wheel. In fact, you may not react quickly enough to make the right decision.

The effects of around three drinks

If you stop drinking after just one or two drinks, it will take around an hour or two for your liver to metabolize the alcohol, which means you may need to stay put for some time before driving. However, if you have that third drink, your BAC could rise to 0.05% before you know it. At this level, you will experience the following:

  • Loss of small muscle control
  • Inability to focus your eyes
  • Reduced coordination
  • Exaggerated behavior
  • Further decline of ability to multitask
  • Further decline of ability to track objects
  • Impaired judgment
  • Difficulty steering
  • Release of inhibitions
  • Reduced response time in emergencies
  • Lowered alertness

Again, you may not be legally drunk, but as you can see, your ability to drive safely is clearly a compromise. With this information, you may make better choices when it comes to drinking and driving, but those around you may not.

If you end up suffering injuries because another person with a BAC below the legal limit felt it was okay to drive, you may be able to pursue compensation for your financial and other losses associated with the accident.

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