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Tips for avoiding drunk driving during the holidays

Avoiding drunk driving can seem inconvenient, especially during the holidays. It can be easy to rationalize that a simple toast or cocktail will not affect your ability to get home safely, but even a small increase in blood alcohol concentration can cause a major impact on your driving skills. The National Highway Safety Administration found that drunk drivers are involved in 40 percent of fatal crashes during New Year's, making it an important time to be vigilant about operating vehicles while intoxicated. Here are some tips for staying safe this holiday season.

1. You cannot calculate your own BAC

Many people try to determine how many drinks they will be able to have without surpassing the legal alcohol limit, but this is likely impossible. People's gender and weight will play a big role in how quickly alcohol is metabolized. Whether or not they have food in their stomachs will also affect this process, as will certain health conditions like diabetes. Drinking alcohol with a large meal may be safer, but even a tiny increase in BAC can cause intoxication, making it vital to avoid any amount of drinking and driving.

2. Do not trust your impaired judgement

Some people claim that they know when they are too drunk to drive, but this may not be the case, especially for drivers who are underage. At a BAC of 0.02 percent, the ability to make logical judgments about your physical condition diminishes. At this point, most drivers are unaware of how drunk they are and incapable of making smart decisions about driving. Instead of waiting to see how you feel after a party, arrange for a ride beforehand.

3. Waiting may not help

Another rationalization that many people make is that they will simply wait a while after drinking before driving. Not only does the inability to make solid judgements come into play but also the fact that the average person's BAC only reduces by about 0.015 percent each hour, meaning it could take a very long time for you to become sober. This number is different for everyone depending on their body's metabolic rate, but it will take longer than most parties last for the average person's BAC to return to zero.

Calling a cab, designating a sober driver and using public transportation are all great alternatives to driving after a party. If you have been convicted of drinking and driving, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for help fighting for your rights and avoiding drunk driving in the future.

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