Drunk driving affects thousands of lives every year. While there is a stereotype of drunk drivers as hopeless alcoholics who are destined to be repeat offenders, this is not always the case. There are many reasons people get behind the wheel after they’ve had too much to drink. Even people who recognize the dangers and risks may still get behind the wheel while intoxicated. However, knowing that drinking and driving is wrong, or only doing it once, doesn’t negate the risks associated with this behavior.

Impaired Judgment

Alcohol impairs a person’s judgment which can cause even people who are otherwise very cautious to drive drunk. An intoxicated person may also think they are less drunk than they actually are, or feel confident that they can drive cautiously and avoid an incident. They may also be ashamed to call someone to pick them up, or otherwise be unable to make alternate transportation arrangements.

Calculate Your Drinking

Most adults process alcohol at the rate of about one drink per hour. This means that in order to ensure they are sober enough to drive, a person should drink only one drink per hour and stop drinking an hour before they should get behind the wheel. A person’s size and body mass can also slightly affect his or her BAC, but this does not mean that a large person can drink with impunity while a smaller person cannot.

The Consequences

Individuals who are caught driving a vehicle on public roads while under the influence of alcohol may face hefty fines, serious jail time, and/or a suspension of their driver’s license for a period of time. They will also most likely have to hire a DWI attorney and pay the associated fees involved in fighting a DWI case as well. Overall, it really isn’t worth taking a chance to drink and drive.

If you have any reason to suspect that you may be intoxicated, don’t risk getting behind the wheel. Call a cab or have a sober friend drive you home rather than risking it. Better yet, find out in advance before drinking at an event if a ride home is available to you.