Super Bowl Sunday is known to be one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. Many people attending Super Bowl parties will start drinking early in the day. If you plan on celebrating the win or even the loss of your favorite team, here are some of the myths to keep in mind about drinking and driving. Knowing about them might help you avoid starting the year with a drunken driving arrest.
“Don’t kid yourself,” said Birmingham, Michigan-based DUI attorney Patrick Barone. “If you have too much to drink before you drive, you’re putting yourself at risk for being arrested, or even worse — for hurting yourself or someone else on the roads.”
Here is a countdown of common misconceptions about drinking and driving:
- I’ll eat a lot while I drink. Super Bowl Sunday is known for its creative and usually high fat finger foods. While having some food in your stomach does help slow alcohol absorption, you will still become intoxicated if you drink enough.
- I planned ahead and have a designated driver. That’s all well and good, but make sure your designated driving doesn’t get swept up in the game. Before you count on the designated driver to get you both home safely, be sure that your driver is on-board and will abstain completely from drinking.
- I’ll stop drinking before the game ends. The truth is that alcohol continues to affect you for hours after you’ve put down your last glass. You may actually be MORE intoxicated an hour after you stop drinking than you were when you finished your last cocktail.
- I only had one glass. While one glass of wine with dinner may not deliver enough alcohol to impair your driving, drinks come in many sizes and strengths. So “just one drink” may have been a glass of wine that is twice a single five-ounce serving of alcohol, or may have three shots of alcohol instead of just one.
- I’m an excellent drunk driver. No. You only THINK you’re an excellent drunk driver. With as little as 0.02 percent blood alcohol concentration, there may be subtle effects on things like your judgment and vision. By the time you reach the legal limit of 0.08 percent, your reasoning, concentration and perceptions are likely impaired enough to make you unsafe behind the wheel.
- I don’t feel drunk. Just because you’re not stumbling or slurring your words, that doesn’t mean you’re safe to drive. Long before the visible signs of inebriation set in, your coordination and reflexes are beginning to slow down.
- I’ll just stick to beer. Great. But that’s still alcohol. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had one shot of liquor, five ounces of wine, or one 12-ounce beer. Alcohol is alcohol.
- I’ll be fine; I’m not driving far. It doesn’t matter how short the distance is. Drunk is drunk, whether you’re driving 20 miles, or 200 yards.
- But I blew into this portable breathalyzer thingie and it says I’m OK. Don’t count on gimmicky gadgets to keep you safe. If you bought that breath tester for $100 (or often far less), it’s not nearly accurate enough to measure your blood alcohol content. If it was a gag gift, keep in mind, it’s just that: an entertaining gag gift. The same goes for pills or potions or tricks, such as drinking mouthwash or sucking on a penny, that allege to stop alcohol absorption or skew tests of breath tests in your favor. They just don’t work.
- Coffee sobers me up. Actually, coffee only helps with drowsiness. You may feel less sleepy, but your judgment and coordination may be impaired. Also, things like exercise and cold showers don’t help. There is nothing that will affect the rate at which your liver processes alcohol.
Barone said that there are few sure-fire ways to be sure you won’t be arrested for driving drunk: Don’t drink or don’t drive. That means staying put, calling a cab or having (or being) a sober designated driver.
“Super Bowl Sunday is a night when we love to get together with friends to enjoy and exciting game and watch funny” Barone said. “An accident or a DUI arrest are not the ways you end a great party.”