There is a general rule that the human body can metabolize one drink’s worth of alcohol every hour. In theory, if you pace yourself during an evening out with friends or at a party, you can avoid severe intoxication while still enjoying refreshments with everyone else.
Unfortunately, there are many different factors that can impact how your body metabolizes alcohol. In certain situations, what seems like responsible consumption could still leave you with an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC), possibly leading to driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges. Here are three of the biggest:
1. Your sex
As unfair as it may seem, men generally have faster metabolisms than women. They also tend to have a higher average body mass than women of the same age. That means that men can drink more without getting drunk than women can in almost every situation.
2. The speed at which you drink
Even if you only have one beverage, if you drink it incredibly quickly, it could have a more intoxicating effect than you expect. The faster you consume alcohol, the more easily it can overwhelm your body and lead to impairment.
3. What you have had to eat that day
There’s a reason that will usually serve food along with alcohol. Food helps absorb the alcohol, slows the rate at which it moves into your bloodstream and otherwise limits its intoxicating effects. Drinking on an empty stomach will increase your physical reaction to the alcohol.
Small mistakes could lead to big consequences if you get behind the wheel when your BAC is too high. Understanding what factors might increase your risk of impairment after a few drinks could help you make safer driving decisions and avoid drunk driving charges.