The Myths of "Sobering Up"
By: Mary Ann Gorman
When you're out drinking and it's time to head home, you may wish you could become sober in order to safely drive your car, since penalties for DUI convictions can be so severe.
But, in reality, there's no quick fix for drunkenness - just a lot of dangerous myths about what activities can minimize your impairment enough to drive.
The Sobering Myths
- Drinking Black Coffee: Caffeine will not help your liver metabolize alcohol, and neither will any of the other ingredients in coffee. Drinking coffee while drunk may actually have a negative effect: you may feel more alert and capable of driving when, in fact, you're still impaired.
- Taking a Cold Shower: Unless your liver hops out and takes a shower with you, this will have no effect on your level of drunkenness. Like drinking caffeinated beverages, though, it could give you a false sense of alertness.
- Getting some Fresh Air: Like taking a cold shower, this may make you feel better - and even less impaired - but it has absolutely no effect on your blood alcohol content (BAC) or liver. If you really like the feel of fresh air when you're intoxicated, consider walking all the way home.
- Exercising: While exercise does help the body eliminate some alcohol through sweating and breathing, the amount is negligible and won't affect your BAC. In fact, because alcohol impairs motor skills, a drunk person engaging in vigorous exercise may actually end up hurting him- or herself by falling or bumping into something.
- Eating Food: Eating before you begin drinking can slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream, but eating after you drink will have zero effect on your drunkenness.
- Drinking Lots of Water: Drinking liters of water once you're bombed will not make you okay to drive home; however, alternating a glass of water with a glass of alcohol throughout the night can help you consume less alcohol and so avoid becoming too impaired to operate a vehicle. Ample water consumption also helps minimize hangover symptoms after drinking.
The Sobering Facts
The human body processes alcohol at a rate of about one drink (that's one beer, one shot of liquor or one glass of wine) per hour. Factors like how much food you have in your stomach, how quickly you drink, your height and weight and whether or not you alternate booze with water also factor your overall level of alcohol impairment, but the only thing that will return you to sobriety is time.
If you plan on drinking, follow these basic rules of thumb:
- Drink responsibly/moderately, which means no more than what your body can process.
- If you don't do the above, assign a designated driver who will remain sober.
- If you don't do the above, call a taxi or take public transportation.
We at Total DUI support responsible decisions and we believe those charged with DUI should have a chance to defend themselves against those charges. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, fill out the free case evaluation form above to be connected with a local DUI lawyer today.