How Many Drinks Is .08% BAC and Tips To Avoid Reaching It
“BAC” stands for blood alcohol content. Anyone operating a vehicle in the US must have a BAC below .07%. This data isn’t always easy for people to track while they’re out at parties or the bar drinking. Our guide today will help you be more prepared to drink responsibly, no matter the occasion. Keep reading to find out how many drinks .08% BAC is and a few tips to avoid reaching it.
How To Steer Clear of .08% BAC
Typically, one drink won’t send your BAC overboard, so how many drinks does it take? This is an important question for anyone who drinks because the answer is dependent on several factors. In general, around four drinks will put someone’s blood alcohol content at .08%. However, it’s not always that simple because not every drink contains the same amount of alcohol. Two bartenders can make the “same drink,” but each may have a different amount of alcohol. If one bartender overpours alcohol into their drink, then one of those will have a bigger impact on your BAC than a standard drink will.
In the United States, a standard drink contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol. Not all drinks are alike, so let’s elaborate on what that means for drinking any given type of alcohol. The aforementioned 14 grams equates to about 12 fl. oz of beer. The alcohol by volume, or ABV, is different for wine, compared to beer, compared to spirits, etc. Since ABV levels will vary between drinks, it’s essential to learn this information before consuming any drink that contains alcohol. Here’s a quick breakdown of how to moderate your drinks across various types of alcohol. Below, you’ll see the ABV equivalents for 14 grams of pure alcohol:
- 12 fl. oz. of beer – 5% ABV
- 8 fl. oz. of malt liquor – 7% ABV
- 5 fl. oz of wine – 12% ABV
- 1.5 fl. oz. of distilled spirits/liquor – 40% ABV
Several standard drinks consumed over one or two hours can quickly cause your BAC to rise. Remember, this is the general equivalent of 14 grams in each drink, but how much alcohol in each drink will vary. Details like your weight and gender will influence how your body is affected by alcohol, too. This can be a lot of information to keep track of, which makes it all seem more daunting than it really is. To make the topic easier to grasp, we will break down exactly why it’s so important to keep track of your BAC while drinking.
Why It’s Important To Moderate Your BAC
A commonly known reason to avoid reaching a .08% BAC is because it marks the point at which you go beyond the legal limit for driving. If you hit .08% BAC or higher, then you can’t legally drive your car. Some people don’t feel as drunk as others when they exceed .08%, but it’s important to uphold this standard to ensure impaired drivers don’t hurt themselves or others. Having a designated driver ensures you don’t have to operate your vehicle after drinking, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore your BAC entirely.
Excessive drinking can impair your judgment and coordination. Another side effect of excessive drinking is alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal. Keeping your BAC under .08% will ensure you can drink without going too far and putting yourself and others in danger. Now that you know why you should moderate your BAC, we can discuss how you can accomplish that goal every time.
Drinking in Moderation
Understanding how many drinks .08% BAC is will make it easier to use the best tips to avoid reaching it. The key to avoiding that .08% BAC is drinking in moderation. Simply put, know your limits. If this is your first drinking experience, you must learn how your body handles alcohol. If you and someone twice your weight drink the same amount, it typically won’t affect you both the same, so you have to know your body’s limits. The only person in charge of your body is you. Even if your friends try to push more drinks on you, don’t consume any if you think they will take you to an excessive BAC.
Drinking in moderation also requires understanding your drinking timeline. If you have a couple of drinks and then stop entirely, your BAC should decrease somewhat within two to three hours. That said, not everyone metabolizes alcohol at the same rate, and one person may simply not process it out of their system as rapidly as another. A very similar principle applies to scenarios where you think you have less than .08% BAC. If you only had one or two drinks, but you feel very drunk, then don’t ignore your body. When you don’t feel safe to get behind the wheel, find a safer transportation alternative. Luckily, as you’ll learn below, there are ways you can accurately keep track of your BAC at any time.
Packing a Personal Breathalyzer
You may associate a breathalyzer test with a police traffic stop, and for good reason. A breathalyzer allows law enforcement to quickly learn how impaired an individual is at that moment. You can use this tool to your own advantage, too. One of the best ways to avoid reaching a .08% BAC is by monitoring your progress with a portable BAC. You can find these devices online and in stores at fair prices. Having a breathalyzer in your purse or pocket means you can instantly test your BAC as necessary. If you check the BAC and it’s too high, you can plan for another ride home. It’s best not to gamble and play the waiting game, as it takes five or more hours to completely metabolize all the alcohol out of your system. This is particularly helpful in cases where you feel fine, but have a high BAC. You might assume that you are under .08% BAC, but the breathalyzer will show you if that’s accurate.
If you need to get your license reinstated after an alcohol-related offense, don’t hesitate to find help today. At Serenity Group, we provide FR44 insurance in Virginia that can help you get back on the road responsibly when you’re ready. Now that you know more about monitoring your BAC, you can use that knowledge to start living a more responsible life today.