Do you believe the urban myths claiming that drinking coffee, eating food, or even sucking on pennies can sober you up after a night of drinking? Well, it’s time to separate fact from fiction. In this article, we’ll debunk these common myths and explore the truth about reducing your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive in!
Before we delve into the myths, let’s understand what BAC really is. Your BAC, or blood alcohol concentration, is the amount of alcohol present in a volume of blood equal to 100 milliliters (ml), or 1 deciliter. In most states, you must have a BAC lower than .08 to drive legally. Utah even has a legal limit of .05, and other states are considering adopting this lower limit.
Your BAC is influenced by various factors such as the type and amount of alcohol consumed, your body weight, how much you’ve eaten, your body fat percentage, individual digestion, gender, and age. It’s important to note that no urban myth can truly lower your BAC, and relying on these tactics can have serious consequences.
Debunking the Myths
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular myths claiming to lower your BAC:
Myth 1: Drinking Coffee
Many people believe that drinking strong coffee can counteract the effects of alcohol. While caffeine may help ward off sleepiness, it won’t change the fact that alcohol impairs your coordination, reaction time, and decision-making abilities. In fact, drinking coffee after alcohol might give you a false sense of sobriety, leading you to believe you’re safe to drive when you’re still intoxicated.
Myth 2: Tricking a Breathalyzer
Covering the smell of alcohol on your breath won’t fool a breathalyzer, commonly known as an ignition interlock device. These devices use fuel cell technology to detect alcohol molecules in your breath sample. No gum, mint, or penny can prevent the device from accurately measuring your breath alcohol concentration (BrAC). So, save your breath and find a sober way home.
Myth 3: Taking a Shower
While a shower might make you feel more alert, it won’t eliminate alcohol from your body to sober you up. So, enjoy a refreshing shower to wake yourself up, but remember that the only way to reduce your BAC is time.
Myth 4: Eating Food
Eating food before drinking can slow down the absorption rate of alcohol, but it won’t eliminate its effects. While food may absorb a small portion of the alcohol before it enters your bloodstream, once the alcohol is in your system, it will take effect. Eating after drinking also won’t sober you up since the alcohol has already entered your bloodstream.
Myth 5: Mixing Alcohol with Energy Drinks
Some believe that the caffeine in energy drinks can prevent alcohol from affecting them. However, while energy drinks can make you less sleepy, they won’t prevent or reduce intoxication levels when mixed with alcohol. In fact, excessive consumption of these cocktails can lead to riskier behavior, heart palpitations, and insomnia.
Myth 6: Drinking One Drink per Hour
Many suggest that drinking only one alcoholic beverage per hour allows you to stay sober. While your body will process some alcohol every hour, it doesn’t eliminate the alcohol content at the same rate it enters your bloodstream. So, with each passing hour and every drink consumed, you become more impaired.
Estimating Your BAC
Several online calculators claim to estimate your BAC based on factors like weight, alcohol consumption, and time. However, these tools only provide rough estimates and should not be relied upon for accuracy. They may not consider important individual factors, and alcohol label inaccuracies can further affect the results. To accurately measure your BAC, trust a breathalyzer or ignition interlock device.
Lowering Your BAC
The only way to truly lower your BAC is with time. On average, your BAC will decrease by about .015 per hour without any additional alcohol consumed. So, if you have a BAC level of .10, it will take approximately 6.5 hours for your BAC to reach a non-measurable amount. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking water after consuming alcohol, as it might help prevent or lessen a hangover the next morning.
When it comes to alcohol and driving, the safest and smartest choice is to not get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking. Rely on a sober friend, a rideshare service, or a cab to get you home safely. Don’t risk your life or the lives of others. For more information about safe driving and interlock devices, visit Marmalade Cafe.