How Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Affects Driving Ability
October 16th, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
Making safe driving decisions is the best way to keep you and your loved ones safe, it also keeps your car out of the body shop. That is why all drivers need to understand the basics of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and how it impacts and impairs driving ability.
What is BAC?
First, what is BAC? It measures the percentage of alcohol in a given amount of blood. It doesn’t take long for alcohol to be absorbed and to show up in a test – sometimes just a half an hour after drinking could be enough time for the BAC to register.
Which factors affect a person’s BAC?
Every person experiences alcohol differently. The rate at which they reach a point of impairment depends on factors that are unique to them. Here are the main factors that affect your BAC:
- Tolerance level
- Whether you drank on an empty or full stomach
- The volume of alcohol and the rate at which it was consumed
If a person who is sober has a BAC of 0.0 percent, at what BAC does a person – specifically a driver – experience impairment? They are considered legally impaired if their BAC is at least 0.08 percent. But just because your BAC is below that mark doesn’t mean that it is safe for you to drive. You could be buzzed or even feel drunk without being legally impaired. So even if you’ve just had one or two drinks and are technically below the threshold, you should err on the side of safety and not drive.
BAC driving: Why should you care?
According to the experts, your liver can absorb roughly one drink – a 12-ounce beer or five ounces of red wine – per hour. Alcohol affects a driver by altering their behavior, sensory perception, judgment, and coordination. If you are consuming alcohol faster than your liver can absorb it, you could become intoxicated. Drivers are considered “very impaired” if they have a BAC that is between .08 and .40. Above .40 they are at risk of having a coma or even dying. Following is a breakdown of different BACS and the degree of impairment that is associated with each one:
You are relaxed and feeling slight lightheadedness. Your coordination hasn’t deserted you yet though you may see a decline in sensory functions and begin exhibiting poor judgment.
Drivers’ coordination may become impaired and they may become less aware of their surroundings and experience a decline in alertness.
This is the threshold for legal impairment. At this point drivers may have difficulty focusing and experience short-term loss of memory. Their sensory perceptions are diminished, especially their ability to see and hear.
At this point, there is a decline in reaction time and cognitive ability. Drivers may have trouble driving in a straight line and are prone to swerving into the next lane. They feel uninhibited and impulsive, which can lead to poor decision-making behind the wheel.
Now their concentration, which was already impaired, is much worse, and they could take their eyes off the road. Their sense of balance and control is also impacted.
This BAC is characterized by profound sensory and motor impairment, loss of physical control, and poor judgment. Passing out is a distinct possibility.
Remember, alcohol affects a driver by changing everything from their mood to their coordination and ability to make sound judgments. In others, if you’re drinking alcohol, the last thing you want to do is to get into the driver’s seat. Now, if your friends ask you “what is BAC,” you will be able to explain it to them and help them understand why drinking and driving is no laughing matter. Driving impaired makes it more likely that they will be involved in a car accident. More importantly, it puts lives at risk.
If you are involved in a collision, bring your vehicle to your local Fix Auto body shop for reliable collision repair by our team of highly trained technicians. We are open for business and ready to serve you.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Lancaster, a leading industry expert and collision repair shop serving Lancaster, the Antelope Valley, and the Mojave Desert.
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