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Factors that affect your BAC

As the holidays approach, so do more opportunities to consume alcohol in celebration. You are probably well prepared for such events, planning to have a designated driver or use a ride service to get you home safely. You may even think you are fine to drive because you only had a few drinks and do not exhibit signs of intoxication.

Regardless of how responsible you may be, you must remember that many factors contribute to the level of alcohol in your system. Underestimating the effects alcohol has on your body can lead to unintentional drunk driving charges. A conviction can lead to multiple penalties, so avoid the situation altogether by not driving at all after any amount of drinking.

Rate of consumption

How fast you drink can affect how quickly your BAC rises. It is best to slow down, sipping your beverages and taking breaks between refills. This allows your body time to begin metabolizing the alcohol. 

Physical characteristics

A few drinks can impair you sooner than someone else due to certain physical traits, such as the following:

  • Age: The older you get, the likelier you are to show impairment.
  • Weight: Those who weigh less may become drunk sooner, though those with high body fat also retain more alcohol in the bloodstream.
  • Gender: Women tend to take longer to metabolize alcohol.
  • Health: Illnesses, such as diabetes, and medications also affect the speed of intoxication.

In addition, each person has a unique metabolic rate. Yours may not be as fast as you think.

Food intake

Drinking before eating results in quick absorption of alcohol. You can lower your BAC by eating something high in fat and protein first and continuing to eat filling foods throughout the event to help slow down absorption, and prevent you from overdrinking as you will probably be too full. Drink nonalcoholic beverages as well, though stay away from carbonation because it also increases your BAC.

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