Many people in New Jersey may believe that they can tell when it is safe for them to drive after drinking. Whether they base their decision on how many drinks they had or how they feel, that assessment could be a fatal mistake.
According to HealthLine.com, a healthy liver metabolizes alcohol at a steady rate that is about the same for every person, regardless of other factors. In general, it takes an hour for the average liver to metabolize a shot of liquor. A pint of beer will take about two hours, a large glass of wine, three hours, and people who have had several drinks should expect their liver to take a number of hours to do its work. It can be dangerous to assume that a mixed drink counts as a single unit of alcohol, as these can vary widely in the amount included.
Although the process is the same, that does not mean people experience the effects the same. ChooseResponsibility.org notes that drinking water and eating can change the way a body reacts to alcohol in the system, and so can a person's age, weight and gender. Over-the-counter and prescription medications often make reactions to alcohol even stronger.
One of the major effects of alcohol is the slowed brain activity that leads to poor judgment. This factor alone makes it unwise for a person to base the decision to drive on how he or she feels at the moment. In addition, though, a person loses the ability to respond quickly to stimuli, such as the sight of another vehicle stopped ahead, and there is also a loss of coordination that makes reacting difficult, even once the driver recognizes the danger.
The only true way to know it is safe to drive is to abstain from alcohol. To make sure that a poor judgment call is not made after the fact, it is best to make plans ahead of time for a ride home.