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We all know that .08 is the legal limit, but most people don't know what it takes to get there. Weight and gender are factors that affect blood alcohol content (BAC), but there are many other factors that affect it too.
1. Strength of the drink. You and your buddy both had a 12 oz. beer; you should both be good to drive, right? Wrong. His was a bud light with an alcohol content of 4.2%. Yours was a stout with an alcohol content of about 15%. Give him the keys.
2. Food. Most people know that drinking on an empty stomach is a bad idea, but do you know why? Food in your stomach slows rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream. This helps keep you from getting drunk.
3. Time spent drinking. As you consume alcohol, your body is absorbing it from your stomach into your blood stream, but it is also eliminating alcohol simultaneously. Extending your drinking over a longer period of time gives your body a chance to eliminate alcohol almost as quickly as it absorbs it. This helps you keep your blood alcohol from getting to high.
4. Carbonation. A carbonated drink can cause your blood alcohol level to rise quicker than a non-carbonated beverage. Carbonation causes alcohol to be absorbed into your blood more quickly, which causes your blood alcohol level to rise more quickly.
5. Time passed after last drink consumed. Because your body eliminates approximately .015 to a .02% per hour, you can determine how much time you'll need to wait after your last drink before you can drive with a lawful blood alcohol level. For example, if you consume 4 beers in one hour, your blood alcohol will rise to approximately .08. You'll need approximately 3 to 4 hours before all of the alcohol is eliminated from your blood stream. Coffee, fresh air, and cold showers have no effect on your blood alcohol level. They are not a substitute for the passage of time.