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How to tell when you can drive after drinking

Ohio takes operating a vehicle impaired very seriously. If you have already faced OVI charges in the past, it is imperative you avoid the situation again. Penalties for repeat offenses are harsher, with the potential for higher fines, more jail time, a longer license suspension and an alcohol assessment. 

The best way to avoid another OVI charge is never to get behind the wheel after drinking, or not to drink at all if you know you have to drive later. However, life is never ideal, and you may find yourself needing to drive after you have consumed alcohol. How do you know when it is safe to hit the road?

The rules of BAC

Blood alcohol content measures the percent of alcohol in your bloodstream. It is highest right after drinking and lowers as your body metabolizes the alcohol. How quick metabolism happens depends on numerous factors, including the following:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Size
  • Prior food intake
  • Medication
  • Speed of consumption

These traits explain why one person may become intoxicated after only a couple drinks, whereas someone else can down more before showing signs of impairment. Furthermore, it is important to know you can become impaired (and risk an OVI) even if your BAC is not above the legal limit of 0.08 percent, shares the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

Ways to tell if you are sober

Keeping in mind your unique body and circumstances, a general rule of thumb is to wait an hour per drink for the alcohol to be out of your system. Be aware of the effects alcohol has on you so you can recognize when they have gone.

A more accurate way to measure is to use your own breathalyzer. They are not 100 percent foolproof, but they can give you a better idea of how intoxicated you are and how much longer you need to wait before driving. If you cannot wait, consider using public transportation, a ride service or asking a friend for a ride. Under no circumstances should you drive if you even think you are slightly tipsy.

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