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What happens at a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent?

The legal limit for most drivers is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent. If you hit or exceed this number, you can get a DUI. There are other situations when you can get a DUI even with a lower BAC -- if it clearly impairs your driving or if you are a commercial truck driver, for instance. However, 0.08 percent is the legal limit.

So, what happens to you when you have enough drinks to hit that limit? A few potential side effects include:

  • Lack of judgment
  • Poor reasoning skills
  • Reduced coordination
  • Reduced self-control
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of memory, at least for short-term memories
  • Issues with speed control
  • Trouble processing complex information

Any combination of these effects can make it very difficult to drive. If you can't process the information you're supposed to take in from traffic signals, road signs and other drivers, how can you avoid a crash? Even if you see a clear hazard, could the loss of coordination make it impossible to avoid it?

Perhaps most dangerous, in many ways, is the effect of alcohol on judgment and reasoning skills. A sober person may know that it is too dangerous to drive drunk, while the same person -- after a few drinks -- will think it is safe enough. This leads to a lot of car accidents that could have been avoided.

If you see these side effects and decide never to drive drunk, that's a great start. However, you still face risks from other drivers. Make sure you know how to seek compensation from an at-fault driver after a crash.

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