A simple truth in life is that the more you drink, the more drunk you’ll get. That simplification is a result of your blood alcohol concentration, or your BAC, the measure of alcohol in your blood stream. Since you probably don’t have a portable breathalyzer to check your level of intoxication and make sure you’re under the legal limit before driving, we’ve got a simple guide that you can use to determine if you should find a safe ride home: your BAC face.
Spoiler alert: you probably should go ahead and find a safe ride home if you’re drinking.
BAC Face #1: Happy!
This is your face after one to two drinks – you’re relaxed, feeling a little warm and overall, just having a good time. You’re walking and talking just fine, and maybe even a little more excited than normal because of the alcohol. But, you’re in a safe zone for your body – just remember that any amount of alcohol can impair your ability to drive.
BAC Face #2: Squinty!
This is your face as you head into a technical “buzz” – you may have problems trying to focus, visually and mentally. You might be stumbling a bit and your dance moves are suffering from your level of relaxation. In states like Colorado, a “buzzed” BAC of around .06 percent can get you a DWAI, or “driving while ability impaired” conviction. You’re not officially drunk, but you’re well on your way there, so please be sure you’re not driving.
BAC Face #3: Sloshy!
After your fourth drink (give or take), your BAC is nearing the .08 percent threshold of legal intoxication. If you cannot make sense of this BAC wizardry, you are probably at or above this level. That slur in your speech and the glassy eyes in the mirror are telling you something: go home, you’re drunk. Just make sure you’re not driving yourself there.
BAC Face #4: Oh Dear.
Once you’ve passed the .08 percent BAC level, you may be at the point of not caring how much more you drink. Without a plan in place, most people just keep drinking – there are fewer inhibitions, after all, and one more shot isn’t a big deal, right? No, not only are you risking a DUI, car breathalyzer or ignition interlock requirement and more, you are putting your body at risk by drinking too much. When you cannot walk without help or you’re vomiting, you need to call it a night, call a cab and get yourself some sleep.
BAC Face #5: Sad Face.
Well, this is the face of your loved ones if you’re in a hospital, emergency room or if you’ve been involved in a DUI. Too much alcohol can kill you, and when you’re blacking out, that’s a preview of your body and brain trying to shut you down before you kill yourself. If you end up with those sad faces looking at you, the odds are that you took your night of drinking too far. Your BAC is probably well over .2 percent, and you risked respiratory arrest and more.
Knowing your BAC limit is pretty simple, especially when you have a plan before you head out for a night of drinking. Then your options become a lot more simple, and a lot less dangerous.