You have likely heard the term blood alcohol content thrown around before. Officers use your BAC level to tell how intoxicated you are. They base this measurement off of the governing DUI laws in the area. In most cases, 0.08 percent is the legal limit. That is as high as your BAC may get before you cannot legally drive.
But are you actually drunk at 0.08 percent BAC? How accurate is your BAC level to how alcohol impacts you?
Range of BAC levels
Healthline examines how drinking can affect the body. Of course, BAC levels only cover a baseline. That baseline still varies widely, too. For example, tipsiness occurs anywhere between 0.03 and 0.12 percent BAC. Half of this is outside of the legal range, but it is not yet considered “drunk”. On the other hand, drunkenness happens anywhere between 0.09 and 0.25 percent. In other words, if you are drunk, you are almost definitely past the legal limit.
Feelings of intoxication
But feeling drunk and being drunk on paper are two different things. Many factors determine how your body reacts to alcohol. This includes your age, weight, gender and overall alcohol tolerance. Outside factors can influence the effects, too. This includes how much you eat before you drink, if you are on medications, and the type of alcohol you consume.
One person may drink tequila and feel hammered before they hit 0.05 percent BAC. That same person may drink beer and feel just a little tipsy even after they hit 0.08 percent BAC. In other words, predicting your BAC based on how drunk you feel is often a futile endeavor. This is why experts suggest you avoid driving after even just one drink, no matter how light it is.