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You don't actually know how drunk you are

If you talk to people about drunk driving, you'll hear a common refrain: "I'd never get behind the wheel if I was too drunk to drive."

There's a problem here, however. The idea is good, but it's based on the premise that you can take stock of how drunk you are when you leave the bar, the party or just your house. You can then decide if it's safe to drive or not. If it's not, you can find another ride.

Admirable, but the issue is simple: You don't actually know how drunk you are.

The science

This isn't just a guess or an opinion. It's backed up by science. Researchers actually went out and studied drunk people at bars to see if they had any clue how intoxicated they had become. They asked them to rate it on a scale of one to 10 and then gave them a breath test to see if they were right. They weren't. The drunker they got, the less accurate they became.

"When people reached about twice the legal blood-alcohol limit they could longer tell how drunk they were," experts explained.

Granted, this is one study, but the results were pretty clear and they do make sense. Alcohol impairs your judgment. It makes you less averse to risk. If you're asking yourself if you're too drunk to drive, can you trust the opinion that you hold? Or do you think it will be safe because you're so drunk that you're not worried about the risk and you can't make an accurate judgment call?

One other thing this shows, though, is that drunk drivers are not always trying to put other people at risk. When you see news reports and media stories about drunk driving, they're often painted as irresponsible people who do not care that they are putting other drivers in danger.

This study helps to show that this is not necessarily the case. They may not want to put anyone in danger and, at the moment that they get behind the wheel, they don't think they are. They honestly think that it's safe. It's just an honest mistake.

Your options after an arrest

If you do get arrested on DUI/DWI charges, you may feel as shocked as anyone that you clocked in over the legal limit. However, it's time to start thinking about your future. Will you need to pay fines? Will you go to jail? Will you lose your license? How is this going to impact your career? If you're still in school, what does it mean for your education?

These are all important questions to ask as you look into your legal rights and the options that you have.

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