Drinking impairs drivers' judgment

  • Published
  • By Regina Coffey
  • Air Force Flight Test Center Ground Safety
People frequently misjudge how intoxicated they are. It's not necessary to be falling down to be considered as drunk. For some people, even one glass of beer or wine can significantly dull their reflexes. 

Despite alcohol use at parties, picnics, restaurants and social gatherings, it is definitely not cool to drink and drive; in fact, it is the leading cause of premature death and accidental injury. 

Because alcohol is a depressant, even moderate drinking interferes with a person's judgment and slows reaction time. This can be very dangerous when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery. 

People may not think of a drunken person as violent. It is usually not the drunk's intention to kill and maim others in an accident. Those who drink may otherwise be gentle, supportive members of society when sober. However, once they get behind the wheel with only a couple of beers under their belt, they can become a menace. Blinded by false confidence and unaware of the effects of even moderate drinking, they drive unpredictably and may even cause collisions. Driving and drinking is a potentially violent combination. 

How much is too much alcohol? It depends mostly on the person's body weight. 

Large people can usually tolerate slightly more alcohol than lightweight people can. Generally, a person should never drink more than one ounce of alcohol per hour. This is roughly equal to one 12-ounce beer per hour, a four ounce glass of wine per hour or one mixed drink per hour. Drinking more than the recommended volume can increase blood alcohol to an intoxicating level. When drinking, be sure to arrange for someone to be the designated driver. 

The only way to sober up after drinking is to wait it out. If you drink, sleep it off, call a cab or ask a friend to drive you. 

If you need a ride, call 277-AADD.