How Long Does it Take to Sober Up Before Driving?
Internet, the source of all kinds of wisdom, is filled with strategies for sobering up really fast so that you can drive after consuming alcohol. Do any of these approaches really work, however, or are all of them dangerous and irresponsible?
What Does Your BAC Depend on?
To answer the question if it’s possible to sober up than what’s naturally possible, we’ll need to address the factors that determine how your body processes alcohol. A few of the most prominent factors include:
- The number of drinks you’ve consumed and the amount of time it took you to drink them all
- Whether you ate food with the alcohol
- If you’re using medications
- If you have certain medical conditions
A man in his 50s who drinks a glass of vodka is not going to have the same BAC as a woman in her 20s who drinks the same amount of alcohol. Their blood alcohol concentration will reach different levels and the amount of time required for this to happen will also be different.
It’s also very important to understand one additional fact.
Appearing and feeling sober and having a BAC of zero are not one and the same thing. You can perk up and feel more alert by having a shot of espresso, for example. The coffee, however, is not going to negate the alcohol in your blood and help you pass a BAC test if you get pulled over by Arizona police officers.
Can You Speed Up the Sobering Process?
Every person needs a certain amount of time to process the alcohol and get it out of their system.
As a general guideline, a BAC of 0.08 will go down to a BAC of 0.02 in about four hours. The alcohol metabolism rate is approximately 0.016 percent per hour. An enzyme is used to break down alcohol and the quantity of the enzyme is constant. Thus, it doesn’t matter how much alcohol you drink. The enzyme will work at this specific hourly rate until the alcohol is out of the system. In essence, nothing you do is going to speed this process up.
Based on scientific research, there are no identified techniques to speed up the alcohol metabolism.
While you’ve probably heard of effective strategies, all of them are urban myths.
The only thing that could potentially help is consuming a meal before drinking. Clinical research suggests that people who drink on a full stomach will metabolize alcohol faster than those who are hungry. This, however, is something you can do in advance rather than after you’ve had a few too many drinks.
Don’t Drink and Drive
The bottom line here is that you should not drink and drive.
Even if you find a way to increase your alertness and energy level, your BAC will still be high just after you’ve consumed alcohol. Not only will you risk getting charged with DUI if you get pulled over, you may also get yourself in an accident.
Hence, you shouldn’t attempt to sober up fast and get in the car. A cab or a designated driver would do a much better job than the legendary strategies for sobering up quickly after you’ve drunk.
Feeling drunk and having a high BAC are not one and the same thing. A cold shower and hydration could make you feel sober. Snacking while you’re drinking and refraining from mixing drinks could also help. All of these, however, will not prevent you from getting an elevated BAC.
If you’ve drunk alcohol, you can rely on many BAC calculators out there that will give you a more or less accurate idea of what the alcohol concentration in your blood is. Based on this data, you can determine the amount of time required to sober up, hence the period during which you should refrain from operating a vehicle.
Click here for a look at Arizona’s Super Extreme DUI laws.