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Staying Sober While Out on the Town



You are of legal drinking age, headed out for a night on the town, and you will be driving. Yes, you know that you should not drink and drive. But there is always the question, can I have just one? Two? What do you need to do to stay sober and beneath your state's blood alcohol content when out for entertainment?

Protect Yourself

According to Professor David J. Hanson of the State University of New York at Potsdam, there are some things you can do if you cannot follow the better advice of no drinking and driving.

  1. Know what you are drinking and the alcohol content. According to Standard Drinks.com, 12 ounces of beer, 1.5 ounces of liquor, and 5 ounces of wine all contain roughly the same amount of alcohol. Also check the alcohol content of your beer. A local craft beer can contain three times the alcohol by volume of a light beer. Know what it is and tailor your drinking accordingly. A breathalyzer does not care which beverage or how much you have consumed. It will only register the amount of alcohol. If you have consumed too much, you will be over the limit.
  2. Never drink anything whose content you do not know. Do not depend on your sense of taste to determine the strength of a drink. In some drinks, the alcohol is undetectable.
  3. Know your limit. According to Dr. Hanson, some people report that having one drink an hour causes no ill effects. Your results may vary. Experiment in the safety of your own home to find the answer. It could save your life.
  4. Eating high-protein food while you eat, such as meat, cheese, and peanuts, helps slow your body's absorption of alcohol.
  5. Have a nonalcoholic drink between drinks containing alcohol. This and spacing out your drinks should help keep your blood alcohol content down.
  6. Stay active. Activity will heighten your awareness of any effects the alcohol may be having on you.
  7. Accept a drink only if you want one and feel your body can handle it. Otherwise ask for a nonalcoholic drink. Or accept the drink and walk to another location and conveniently "lose" it.
  8. Do not engage in any games that involve "chugging" or gulping your drink. Sip your drink and enjoy its taste and aroma.

Using a designated driver or avoiding alcohol altogether if driving are much safer options. But if you have to have a glass or bottle in your hand when out with friends, these suggestions may help.