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Lowering BAC Fast: Myths and Facts

There are a lot of myths floating around about how you can sober up or trick a breathalyzer after a night of drinking. They might include eating a certain food, sucking on a penny, or drinking a pot of coffee. However, these myths are not true, and doing these things won’t miraculously sober you up.

We’ll discuss some of the more common questions surrounding BAC and help you learn what will actually help you sober up. 


What is BAC, or blood alcohol concentration?

You’re likely aware that the legal limit for drunk driving in most states is .08 percent BAC, but do you know what this really means? Your BAC level is the amount of alcohol that is present in a volume of your blood equal to 100 milliliters. 

There is no set amount of drinks that equals a specific BAC. In addition to the number of alcoholic drinks you have, other factors come into play. These include what you’ve eaten before drinking, your weight, your digestion, age, gender, and many other factors.


Debunking myths around lowering BAC

Many of these tactics claim to sober you up fast, and you might feel like they make it safe to drive home after a night of drinking. Don’t try it - it’s not worth the risk.


Having coffee or a lot of caffeine

While caffeine does help many people feel more alert, drinking a cup of coffee or even several cups will not undo the effects of drinking booze. Your coordination and reaction times will still be affected, and being over-caffeinated may simply make you feel more confident about driving when you shouldn’t. 


Using mints or gum to trick a breathalyzer

Mints or gum might fool people in your life if you’ve been out drinking, but even that is unlikely. It’s impossible to trick a breathalyzer this way, though. Interlock devices use fuel cell technology to measure your BrAC, and you can’t use mints or gum to mask the presence of alcohol when using this tech. The same is true for sucking on pennies. Not only will it not work, but you put yourself at risk of picking up a ton of germs by placing a penny in your mouth.


Showering

Showering will likely make you feel more pleasant and possibly more alert, but it will do nothing to sober you up. You’ll feel fresher, but your body won’t metabolize alcohol any faster just because you showered. 


Eating a large meal/eating food 

While food does slow the absorption of alcohol if you eat before drinking, it’s a relatively small amount. Once alcohol hits your bloodstream, it starts to impact your reaction time and judgment. Eating after drinking does nothing to help either, as the alcohol has already entered your bloodstream. It’s a good idea to have some food in your stomach before drinking, but don’t count on it to help you stay sober. 


Having energy drinks with your alcohol

Many people think mixed drinks like a Red Bull and vodka will help them stay sober. Much like coffee, the caffeine in energy drinks doesn’t prevent you from getting drunk. 

You might be less sleepy, but combining stimulants like caffeine with alcohol could cause you to do risky things, or may cause heart palpitations.


Pace your drinking to one per hour

While many recommend this method to prevent becoming too drunk, it’s not going to keep you sober if you drink too much. Your body will process some of the alcohol you drink each hour, but it won’t eliminate the alcoholic content at the same rate you are drinking it. You will still become more impaired with each drink you have. It’s not a 1:1 ratio. 


Using online tools to estimate your BAC

Online tools can be helpful when it comes to giving you a general idea of your BAC, but they’re not foolproof. Everybody processes alcohol differently, so an online calculator should not be taken as gospel. Keep in mind that alcohol labels aren’t always accurate, either.  


The foolproof way to lower your BAC

The good news is, there is a foolproof way to lower your BAC. It’s time! Waiting several hours after consuming alcohol is the only legitimate way to lower your BAC. Your BAC drops .015 percent per hour on average if you don’t drink more alcohol. 

After a night of drinking, it’s always a safer idea to call a cab, use public transportation, or get a ride with a sober friend. Using tricks won’t work, but these methods will. The risk is not worth it and could put others in danger.