The Problem With ‘One Drink Per Hour’

Many people mistakenly believe that if they only consume one drink per hour, or that if they wait the same number of hours as drinks they have consumed throughout the night before driving, that they are sober enough to drive. This is one of the most common myths about drinking and driving, and one that needs to have some light shed upon it in order to help people make more informed choices about drinking and driving. While trying to stick to only having one drink per hour can be an effective way to pace your drinking throughout the evening, it is not the safest approach to driving after you have consumed alcohol. Below is more information as to why.

The Origin

Every myth comes from somewhere, and the idea that one drink per hour will keep you sober is no exception. The myth stems from scientific experiments conducted in the early part of the 1900s that helped create a formula that could estimate a person’s blood alcohol concentration. A physician tested subjects who had been drinking based on the individual’s weight and gender, the amount of time that passed since the individual began drinking, and of course, how much alcohol the individual had consumed.

Modern Issues

The problem is that nowadays, there is no “universal level” of alcohol in drinks. A shot of whiskey could have more alcohol than a beer with a lower alcohol by volume percentage, but some strong beers could have much more alcohol. In an age where we still tend to supersize just about anything we can, drinks are no exception. We often find ourselves choosing the more economical large drink because we figure we would have had two drinks otherwise, which may have cost more. However, the large drink may have two or more times the alcohol of a normal drink, which can cause you to become far more intoxicated from one drink than even if you had two over a longer period of time.

Test subjects in the original experiment were also quite similar in age and weight. Both age and weight can impact how alcohol affects us, if for no other reason than as we age we tend to retain more fat and that can have an impact on how our body metabolizes alcohol. Fat typically holds less water, which means our bodies have less of a chance to utilize water to dilute alcohol in our system and prevent sudden spikes in intoxication. In addition to potentially helping avoid certain hangover symptoms, water and hydration can be important factors in other areas related to alcohol consumption, too.

Additionally, as with many experiments, the scientist that created the formula that began the one drink per hour myth controlled and monitored how much each participant in his studies had to drink. That helped him maintain accurate records to make more accurate predictions. However, it is not always possible to have a clear understanding of just how much alcohol one has consumed. In addition to the factors discussed above, we are not always aware of exactly how much alcohol is in our mixed drinks and craft cocktails. It is not uncommon for these drinks to have double or even triple the amount of alcohol found in one drink, so consuming just one of these certainly risks putting you over the legal limit to drive no matter what the old saying says.

Legal Assistance with Colorado DUIs

Guessing is an imprecise approach to determining your blood alcohol concentration. The only sure way to make sure that you are sober enough to drive is to make sure that you do not mix alcohol and driving. However, if you are facing Colorado DUI charges, it is important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to make sure your rights are protected and that you do not have to face these serious charges alone. For help with your Colorado DUI or related charges, contact the criminal defense team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation where you can find out more about what your charges might mean for you as well as what options might be available in your defense.

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(image courtesy of Michael Mroczek)