You and your friends stopped for a happy hour on your way home from work. Now as you get behind the wheel of your car and fumble with the keys you start to wonder just how much you’ve had to drink. Are you legally able to drive? What is your BAC? Is there a way to tell?

Factors that influence your BAC

You are not alone if you struggle to estimate your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Many factors contribute to this number and the same number of drinks can have a significantly different impact given the day. Some of the main influencing factors include:

  • Your sex
  • Height and weight
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Food you have eaten that day
  • Stress level
  • Tiredness
  • How quickly you consume the beverages

Since these factors can greatly vary by day, it can be very difficult to anticipate your BAC after a couple of drinks. You may be under the legal limit of .08 one night and over the limit another night after drinking the exact same beverages.

Tips to avoid drunk driving

The best practice is to completely abstain from driving any time you drink. You never know how your body will react on a given night, and you do not want to put your health and legal record on the line. Rotate a designated driver among your friend group, or plan on using a ride share app to get home.

Some companies have created breathalyzer phone apps that measure your BAC if you blow into a mouthpiece that connects to your smartphone. While not always 100 percent accurate, these can give you a pretty good benchmark for your level of intoxication.

Remember that driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges in Texas can carry significant repercussions, including fines, license suspension, jail time and even possible vehicle confiscation. Stay safe and plan ahead so you can have fun with your friends without risking DWI charges.