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The trouble with contemplating whether you’re “sober enough to drive”

On Behalf of | Nov 5, 2023 | DWIs

People sometimes realize, as they leave a social gathering with friends or a local bar or restaurant, that they need to consider if they’re truly sober enough to drive. They know that they are not 100% sober. Even if they just had a glass of wine with dinner, they have consumed alcohol.

They may or may not determine that they are “safe enough” to drive, depending on how impaired they perceive themselves to be. The trouble is that people who are intoxicated often have almost no idea how impaired they actually are.

Alcohol impairs judgment

Alcohol itself impairs a person’s ability to make sound judgments. It also lowers inhibitions. People are more likely to take risks after they’ve been drinking. A person who is wondering if they are sober enough to drive is more likely to risk it and attempt to drive home, specifically because they are impaired. When they are sober, they may admit that it was a poor decision, but they may not truly understand that reality in the moment.

Judging by one’s surroundings

Additionally, it’s been found that people who are impaired often judge their level of intoxication based on their surroundings and the people they are with. They look at their peers and then compare the way that they feel when determining whether they are relatively sober or relatively impaired.

This means that their determination is completely subjective. If a person was visiting their grandparents in a retirement home, in a quiet and subdued setting where everyone was sober, they may feel incredibly intoxicated and out of place after a few drinks. But if the same person was sitting in a sports bar after a local team had just won a championship, they may be the most sober person in the building. This might lead them to believe that they aren’t very impaired after a few drinks. In reality, the only difference between the individual in the two examples is that the people around them are more intoxicated in the second setting.

If an arrest occurs

Unfortunately, people make mistakes and may get arrested on allegations of impaired driving as a result. By seeking legal guidance as proactively as possible, individuals will have the greatest possible opportunity to safeguard their rights and mitigate any consequences they may face as a result of their circumstances.