How Alcohol Affects your Behavior

While deaths related to driving under the influence (DUI) are at record lows, there are still far too many deaths related to alcohol. A good night out can quickly lead to a night of terror, destruction and death. But when you are having that good time, how can you know how much is too much?

Legal Limit for Your Blood Alcohol Concentration

In all 50 states, the legal limit for your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08. This is still too vague to know how much is too much, because a woman weighing only 120 pounds can reach .08 with only 2 servings of alcohol where a 180 pound man can reach .08 in 4. Let’s look at the science and feel of it all.

When you reach a BAC level of 0.020 a few subtle changes occur. At this level the body starts to relax and experience a decline in visual function and the ability to multi-task. While this BAC usually occurs with only one serving of alcohol – the equivalent to one shot of liquor or a five-ounce glass of wine or one beer – in an emergency situation reaction times can be slowed.

When you reach a BAC level of 0.050 you can experience exaggerated behavior, loss of small muscle control, an inability to focus your eyes quickly, impaired judgment, and a release of inhibitions. This can reduce your coordination behind the wheel, reducing your ability to safely operate a vehicle. This is especially true in a high risk or emergency situation.

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