What happens in the body of a driver under the influence of alcohol?

Even though we all know that driving under the influence of alcohol is prohibited, some drivers still disregard this ban, leading to police interventions. Therefore, today on our blog, we will discuss how a driver’s performance changes after consuming alcohol.

WHO ARE DRUNK DRIVERS IN OUR COUNTRY? We analyzed who drunk drivers are in our country some time ago in a separate post. Today, we will focus on what happens in their bodies after consuming alcohol.


Zero. Regardless of the regulations in different countries, the best and simplest solution for a driver is to abstain from alcohol (and other psychoactive substances) when driving a car. This way, we ensure that we have done everything to maintain the necessary efficiency for safe driving.

Some believe that alcohol has a stimulating effect. Indeed, its first phase of action is associated with excitement and a state of euphoria. However, we are talking about a substance classified as a depressant. Immediately after the first phase, the second, longer phase occurs. Fatigue, drowsiness, and slowing down then appear.

What concentration of alcohol in the blood can cause negative effects on our body? Already at 0.2-0.6 per mil, increased eye tremors can cause disruptions in visual acuity and field of vision. The reaction time of a driver with 0.5 per mil of alcohol in their blood is three times longer than that of a sober person. In practice, we are talking about an extension of braking distance by up to 40%.

Studies show a significant increase in the risk of causing a car accident for a driver with more than 0.4 per mil of alcohol in their blood:

– at 0.5 per mil, the risk increases threefold,

– at 0.8 per mil – tenfold,

– at 1.2 per mil – thirtyfold,

– at 1.5 per mil – two hundredfold.


How do we know the alcohol concentration in a person’s blood? There are, of course, mathematical formulas to roughly calculate this, but until a blood test is conducted, we cannot be entirely sure.

The absorption of alcohol by the body does not occur linearly. In the first phase (from 20 to 160 minutes after consumption), its concentration in the blood increases. Then, the body reaches a point where the alcohol concentration begins to stabilize, and only in the next phase does it start to decrease until all the consumed alcohol is eliminated from the body. Therefore, the highest alcohol concentration in the blood is likely to be detected within 1.5 hours of drinking.

What is the average time for alcohol metabolism? It is an individual characteristic, and contrary to stereotypes, it is not influenced by what we do (bathing, physical exertion, or consumed food). It is estimated that the average is about 0.15 per mil per hour.

This means that a 90 kg man who drank 0.5 liters of vodka at a party lasting, for example, 3 hours will eliminate alcohol from his body in about 16 hours. It is worth being aware of this when deciding whether to consume alcohol before a planned journey or to sit behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

If we have even the slightest doubt about our sobriety or ability to drive a vehicle, let’s abstain and not endanger ourselves and others.

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