A DUI can wreck your life. Not to mention other people’s lives too.
Even if no one gets hurt, the damage to your life and to your family from a DUI can be catastrophic. You can lose your job. You’ll pay thousands in fines and legal fees. Your insurance rates will increase. You can lose your car.
All this and much more can happen simply because your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is found to be over 0.08% (or whatever the legal limit is in your state) when you get pulled over.
A survey from BACtrack shows that 63% of people do not know how many drinks it takes for them reach the legal limit.
So if you like to drink alcohol, pay attention to what you’re about to read. This is your definitive 5-step guide to avoiding a DUI and enjoying your lifestyle without worrying about destroying your life.
5-Step Plan to Avoid a DUI
1. Don’t Drink and Drive
This is the most obvious way to avoid a DUI, of course. If you want to drink alcohol and expect to have more than a couple drinks, do it with a ‘smart drinking’ plan. Yes, there is such a thing.
It could mean having Lyft, Uber, or a taxi service phone number pre-programmed on your phone and ready to call. It could mean a designated driver or planning in advance to be picked up by a friend at a certain time. Whatever you do, have a plan.
If you want to avoid any chance of a life-shattering conviction, drink with a plan.
2. Don’t Trust BAC Calculators
If you drink without a plan or think you can quickly “do the numbers” to determine if you’re above or below the legal limit for a DUI, you’ve already lost.
BAC calculators cannot be trusted if you want to avoid a DUI, and the number of reasons why would require a whole separate article to explain them all. But here are a few:
- Metabolism rate. Genetic factors like this one that affect how fast and how well your body processes alcohol. Some people have more or fewer of the enzymes that break down alcohol, and you have no control over this. Arcane notions of “holding your liquor” have little connection to science. No BAC calculator can incorporate your body’s level of ‘ADH’ enzymes.
- Age, ethnicity, height. How your body processes alcohol depends on these factors too, which are also outside your control. Most BAC calculators try to consider one or two of these factors, but few ask for all three, and even if they did, they cannot combine them with all the others on this list.
- Medications you’re taking. Certain medications combine with alcohol in various ways that affect your level of intoxication. A BAC calculator cannot account for this.
- Body mass. We’re always told heavier people can handle more alcohol than lighter people. But does it matter what kind of weight you have? Does a muscular 250-pound man process alcohol the same as a 250-pound man who is out of shape? A calculator cannot distinguish between these.
- How fast you drink. Drinking five drinks over two hours is a lot different than drinking five drinks in 20 minutes. Some calculators try to incorporate this, but most don’t.
- Gender. Men have different biology than women, and this affects how their bodies process alcohol. For instance, women have a higher concentration of body fat than men, and since fat does not absorb alcohol, the alcohol content remains in a highly concentrated form in the bloodstream, which means their BAC will be higher even if they drink the same amount of alcohol. That’s just one of many differences.
Again, this is just a partial list. But the case is overwhelming: BAC calculators are not reliable because they oversimplify the complex relationships between genetics, human behavior, biology, and the chemistry of alcohol.
3. Eat While You Drink
Don’t drink on an empty stomach if you want to avoid a DUI. This is another factor BAC calculators don’t usually include. It matters what you eat, when, and how much, in tandem with your alcohol. But in general, you’ll keep your BAC lower if you drink while and/or before you eat.
4. Don’t Drive Dumb
If you’ve consumed any alcohol at all, even if you know you’re far under the limit (see how to know for sure with #5 next), don’t take chances by using your phone while driving.
Don’t text, don’t call anyone, don’t fiddle with all the gadgets in your car. Focus on the road. Why? Because if you get in a wreck or roll through a stop sign – even if you’re under the legal limit – you can still get a DUI if alcohol in your system and you’re at fault because of it. It goes without saying, but do not drink and drive!
5. Use a Breathalyzer
There’s simply no substitute for knowing your BAC. A smartphone-enabled breathalyzer (like BACtrack Mobile) empowers you with an accurate estimate of your BAC level. And you can use it right there, in the restaurant or at your friend’s house – wherever you happen to be and before getting behind the wheel.
A study from the Colorado Department of Transportation found 79% of study participants had driven while over the legal limit. And after using a breathalyzer for a few months, only 12% said they had; the study also found 84% of participants agreed that owning a smartphone breathalyzer lowered their risk of a DUI.
How many lives would be saved f everyone who drank outside the home used a breathalyzer before getting behind the wheel?
Even if you don’t drink, this could be a life-saving gift for your best friend or relative who does.
If your BACtrack says there’s alcohol in your system, then either stay where you are a little longer or activate that plan you made back at step 1.
Explore our selection of breathalyzers and find the one that best suits your needs.