As the heat of summer reaches depths of hell temperatures, Louisiana gears up for its favorite season. No, not fall – football season! While football games are a great time to laissez les bons temps rouler and enjoy an adult beverage or two, here are some things to keep in mind before you drink and drive:
1. But I ate an alligator stuffed pistollette, a crawfish pie, and a link of boudin. While some foods can help slow alcohol absorption, you will still become intoxicated if you drink enough. Also, be aware that carbonated mixers and beverages – cola, champagne, sparkling wine – can actually speed up the process.
2. My brother has agreed to be the designated driver. That’s great, just make sure your designated driver doesn’t get swept up in the joie de vivre, and that s/he agrees to abstain completely from drinking alcohol.
3. I’ll stop drinking after the sun goes down. Alcohol continues to affect you for hours after you’ve had your last drink. You may actually be more intoxicated an hour after you stop drinking than you were when you finished your last cocktail.
4. I only had one drink. “Drinks” come in many sizes and strengths. So “just one drink” may have been a glass of wine that is twice a single five-ounce serving of alcohol, or may have three shots of alcohol instead of just one. Also, while many beer aficionados note that quality has risen with so many microbrews, so has alcohol content. A Miller Genuine Draft has a 4.7% ABV (alcohol by volume). A 170-pound man might be able to drink a few cans and still be under the .08 limit. But what if that person, confident he can still drive after three beers, orders three Samuel Adams Imperial Whites (ABV 10.3)? That’s the equivalent of over six Miller Genuine Drafts!
5. I’m an excellent drunk driver. No. You only THINK you’re an excellent drunk driver. With as little as 0.02 percent blood alcohol concentration, there may be subtle effects on things like your judgment and vision. By the time you reach the legal limit of 0.08 percent, your reasoning, concentration and perceptions are likely impaired enough to make you unsafe behind the wheel.
6. I don’t feel drunk. Just because you’re not stumbling or slurring your words, that doesn’t mean you’re safe to drive. See #5.
7. I’m just a beer drinker. Newsflash – beer contains alcohol. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had one shot of liquor, five ounces of wine, or one 12-ounce beer. Alcohol is alcohol.
8. I’ll be fine, I’m not driving far. Drunk is drunk, whether you’re driving a mile or 100 yards.
9. But I blew into this portable breathalyzer and it says I’m OK. Don’t count on gimmicky gadgets to keep you safe. If you bought that breath tester for $25, it’s not nearly accurate enough to measure your blood alcohol content. The one the police will use cost upwards of $8,000.
10. Coffee sobers me up. Coffee only helps with drowsiness. You will simply be alert and drunk.
The most effective way to insure you won’t be arrested for driving drunk: Don’t drink or don’t drive.