Can I Drive After Alcohol?

Matt Pinsker

January 23, 2023

The question of whether or not you can drive after drinking has been discussed for decades. However, recent studies show that the answer may not be as clear-cut as it once was. There are three main factors to consider when determining if you can safely drive after drinking. These include slowness of judgment, loss of coordination, and reaction time. Can I Drive After Alcohol?

Reaction time

Undoubtedly, driving under alcohol can impair the driver’s performance and reaction time. However, several studies have shown that consuming psychoactive substances can affect the driver’s performance.

This study aims to examine the effect of alcohol and psychoactive substances on young adults’ crash avoidance reaction time. It was a multicenter, international cross-sectional study. Seventy-nine drivers were tested in a driving simulator at four different BAC levels during the experiments. Blood samples were collected at various times throughout the tests.

The average crash avoidance reaction time was measured for each subject. During the test, study subjects were required to perform an emergency steering maneuver. Approximately 20 trials were performed per session. At each trial, the driver had to steer their car away from a stalled vehicle.


Sedation is a common effect of alcohol. It causes the driver to become exhausted and unable to react quickly or to drive correctly. As a result, the driver might miss hazardous situations or traffic conditions, which makes them more likely to crash.

Sedation is often a temporary effect. People who experience it will need an adult to take them home or to help them get to a hospital or doctor’s office. They may not be able to speak or move or even need someone else to pick them up. The effect of sedation can last for several hours, so it is best to avoid driving at all costs.

In addition to the effects of alcohol, prescription drugs can have a similar effect on drivers. Prescription medicines like antihistamines and cough, cold, and allergy medications can also affect a person’s ability to drive. If you have taken any of these medications, you should talk to your pharmacist before you drive.

Slowness of judgment

When it comes to drinking and driving, the real world doesn’t resemble the glitzy nightclubs of the past. It’s good that the state of Texas has a stout law enforcement arm and a surprisingly low DUI rate. That said, if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, you’re in for it. Fortunately, the Texans are a tad bit on the generous side, and if you’re in a bind, you can count on your local bar or restaurant to dispense with the petty cash. Of course, there are plenty of thugs amongst us. The best course of action is to be a tad more cautious.

Loss of coordination

Driving with alcohol in the system can make it hard for you to focus on the road. It can also lead to dangerous situations. You can get into accidents, injuries, and even fatalities because you are distracted.

The effects of alcohol on your body and mind can interfere with your concentration, judgment, and fine motor skills. It can also affect your vision, increasing your risk of getting into an accident.

Drinking can cause you to miss a traffic signal or other warning signs. You may also have trouble reacting to emergencies. This is because the messages from your brain take longer to relay than they do when you are sober.

Even a BAC of 0.05% can reduce your coordination by 20 percent. That’s why you should wait four hours before driving after drinking.


Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is a severe crime. The laws governing this offense vary from state to state. However, the penalties can range from a fine to imprisonment. In some cases, you may even lose your driver’s license for up to a year.

The law against driving while intoxicated (DWI) is based on the fact that the ability to drive a motor vehicle is impaired. Alcohol and drugs, if consumed excessively, affect a person’s judgment, reaction times, and sight recognition.

Drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher will be arrested for DUI. For those who have a BAC of 0.05% or lower, the law does not apply.

In addition, drivers under 21 are not allowed to consume alcoholic beverages while driving. A BAC of 0.01% is the legal limit for underage drinkers.