Drivers will sometimes find themselves in a position where they need to sober up quickly. They know that they are over the legal limit. But they may already be out at the bar, at a restaurant, at a friend’s house or at a sporting event. They are planning to drive home, and they want to sober up quickly so that they do not get arrested for drunk driving.
There are many common tactics that people will employ in an effort to sober up, such as drinking a lot of hot coffee. They may also decide to take a cold shower if they are at home, or they may eat a big meal. Are these tactics going to work?
People cannot sober up any faster than their natural metabolism
No, these tactics will not work. A person’s body gets rid of the alcohol that they’ve consumed by metabolizing it at a rate of about 0.015% per hour. This process can vary just slightly from person to person, but this is the average rate. If someone’s BAC was 0.06%, it would take at least four hours to reach zero. A cup of coffee isn’t going to change that rate, and neither is a meal. A cold shower may take some time, allowing the body to process some of the alcohol, but it’s not going to do anything beyond that. Only time gets someone closer to being sober.
Why do these myths exist?
If science shows that someone can’t sober up quickly, why do people think they can drink a cup of coffee and then drive safely? The answer is likely caffeine. Someone who is intoxicated may feel sluggish, fatigued and tired because alcohol is a depressant. The caffeine in the coffee can wake them up, which changes their perceptions and makes them feel more alert. They think that this means they are sober, but they really just have a buzz from the caffeine on top of the alcohol. Alertness from the shock of a cold shower, etc. cause they same false sense of security.
What happens after an arrest?
Drunk driving charges can have a major impact on someone’s life, perhaps leading to jail time, fines, a license suspension, if an individual is convicted. Anyone who is facing such charges must know about their legal defense options, as it may be possible to avoid significant long-term consequences depending on the unique nature of someone’s circumstances.