(WKBN) — The holidays are a time when many people will lift a glass to family, friends and the New Year. It’s pretty common knowledge that the legal limit to operate a vehicle in Ohio is .08 alcohol content, but unless you have a mobile tester, there’s really no way to determine what that means for you.
Also, 0.08 is just a guideline because everyone is different and the effects of alcohol can sneak up on you before you are aware of the impact.
There are ways to gauge how much is too much when you look at general tables by the Centers for Disease Control.
- 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
- 8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
- 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
- 1.5 ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).
With that in mind, the National Institute of Health says impairment can be measured in the table below:
- Mild impairment: 0.00 to 0.05%
- Increased impairment: 0.06 to 0.15%
- Severe impairment: 0.16 to 0.30%
- Life-threatening: 0.31 to 0.45%
If you are hosting a party, it’s a good idea to have some non-alcoholic options and keep an eye on your guests. Letting a guest leave your home drunk is a tricky situation when it comes to the law. Ohio does not technically have a social host liability law; however, a host can be held liable if they provide alcohol to anyone under 21.
Here are some tips to keep in mind if you host a holiday gathering: (Source: National Institute of Health)
- Offer a variety of alcohol-free drinks — water, juices, sparkling sodas. Alcohol-free drinks help counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Also, the other fluids may slow the rate of alcohol absorption into the body and reduce the peak alcohol concentration in the blood. They also provide your guests with alternatives to alcohol.
- Provide a variety of healthy foods and snacks. Food can slow the absorption of alcohol and reduce the peak level of alcohol in the body by about one-third. Food can also minimize stomach irritation and gastrointestinal distress the following day.
- Help your guests get home safely — use designated drivers and taxis. Anyone getting behind the wheel of a car should not have ingested any alcohol.
- If you are a parent, understand the underage drinking laws — and set a good example.
There are some common myths about drinking and what it takes to sober up. The bottom line is nothing helps but time. Here are some common myths: (Source: National Institute of Health)
Myth: Drink coffee. Caffeine will sober you up.
Fact: Caffeine may help with drowsiness but not with the effects of alcohol on decision-making or coordination. The body needs time to metabolize alcohol and then return to normal. Also, when the caffeine wears off, your body will need to deal with post-caffeine sleepiness, which adds to alcohol-induced sleepiness. There are no quick cures — only time will help.
Myth: You can drive as long as you are not slurring your words or acting erratically.
Fact: The coordination needed for driving is compromised long before you show signs of intoxication and your reaction time is slowed. Plus, the sedative effects of alcohol increase your risk of nodding off or losing attention behind the wheel.
Myth: The warm feeling you get from drinking alcohol insulates you from the cold of winter. When you’re drinking, there’s no need to wear a coat when it’s cold outside.
Fact: Alcohol widens the tiny blood vessels right under the skin, so they quickly fill with warm blood. This makes you feel warm or hot and can cause your skin to flush and perspire. But your body temperature is actually dropping because while alcohol is pulling warmth from your body’s core to the skin surface, it is also depressing the area of your brain that controls temperature regulation. In cold environments, this can lead to hypothermia. So, wear a coat when it’s cold outside, particularly if you are drinking alcohol.