Drinking and driving is never a good idea, as it can have detrimental consequences for impaired drivers and others on the road. However, it’s not uncommon to think that just one drink won’t have much effect on driving ability. In reality, even a single drink can have an impact.

First and foremost, it’s helpful to understand Florida’s legal drinking limits. In Florida, driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% is considered illegal. For drivers under 21, the legal limit is .02%, thanks to the zero-tolerance policy.

While one drink alone does not usually get a person to the legal drinking limit, it can still considerably affect their capacity to drive safely. Just one drink makes an impact. 

How Alcohol Affects Drivers

Alcohol is a depressant that alters your central nervous system. Its effects can spread to every organ in the body, especially the brain. Alcohol impacts clear thinking, muscle coordination, and reasoning. 

Additionally, drinking alcohol can alter:

  • Vision
  • Reaction times
  • Concentration and vigilance
  • The ability to multi-task
  • Understanding of what’s happening

Drinking before driving can also make a driver feel more relaxed, which can cause impaired drivers to fall asleep behind the wheel. Additionally, drivers can become distracted more easily. And because drinking and driving can have such a substantial effect on the body, it increases the likelihood of car accidents

Even One Drink Can Impact Your Ability To Drive

So what constitutes “one drink,” and can you drive after having just one? One drink is often defined as 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of liquor. Nonetheless, because different wines, beers, and cocktails can have unique percentages of alcohol, one drink can contain a greater amount of alcohol, causing more significant impairment.

In addition, metabolism plays a large role in impairment. Generally, the faster the body metabolizes a drink, the less of an effect it has on a person. Although everyone’s body is different, it often takes about one hour to metabolize a small shot of liquor, two hours to metabolize a pint of beer, and three hours to metabolize a large glass of wine. 

Therefore, it’s important to consider what “one drink” means to you. Also, after having one drink, it’s particularly helpful to keep away from driving for some time, as the body can take an hour or more to metabolize a single drink.

Factors Affecting How the Body Metabolizes Alcohol

Several factors can impact how quickly or slowly the body metabolizes alcohol, including the following:

  • Age
  • Body weight
  • Other substances and medications
  • Whether your stomach is full or empty
  • How quickly you drink

While it may take a person just an hour to metabolize one drink, it could take another two or more hours. Because of the variables, it’s generally best to avoid driving at all after drinking in order to keep yourself and others safe. 

Just One Drink Can Result in an Accident

Drinking and driving is illegal, and doing so can result in criminal consequences. On top of that, driving while impaired can increase the chances of car wrecks that result in serious injuries and sometimes even death. If you or a loved one have been involved in a drunk driving accident, you may have a valid claim against the responsible individual. For this reason, it’s best to discuss your situation with a qualified personal injury attorney. A lawyer can review the details of your case, provide quality advice and guidance, and work diligently to reach the best result.

Contact the Clearwater Car Accident Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer in Clearwater. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.

We serve throughout Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, Pasco County, and its surrounding areas:

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 787-2500

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
(727) 591-5610

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
(813) 686-7588

Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655
(727) 815-8442