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Factors that affect BAC levels

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2021 | OWI/DUI/DWI |

Knowing not to get behind the wheel after drinking is easier said than done. Although some individuals can handle a drink or two before reaching a BAC of .08, others cannot.

There are many factors that affect how the body metabolizes alcohol. Understanding these may help prevent an accident.

Biological sex

According to the UC Davis Student Health and Counseling Services, alcohol tends to affect women more than men. One reason is that most women weigh less and have more body fat. Another is their bodies have less alcohol dehydrogenase, which is the enzyme that helps break down alcohol.

Rate of drinking

Taking shots and chugging drinks will result in someone getting drunk faster. It is better to sip a drink or to have a non-alcoholic drink in between each alcoholic one.

Stomach contents

It is better to drink on a full stomach, or while eating because this slows down alcohol absorption.

Medication or drugs

According to the University of Notre Dame Student Well-Being McDonald Center, many prescription and over-the-counter drugs can have negative interactions with alcohol. In general, you should not take alcohol and medications at the same time. Other drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine, are also more dangerous when mixed with alcohol.


One thing that does not affect BAC levels is tolerance, and this may be the reason more people drive when they should not. People who drink more frequently do not feel the effects of alcohol the way infrequent drinkers do, so they typically feel more confident drinking more.

Another misconception is that coffee or a cold shower helps rid the body of alcohol faster. The truth is, only time can do this.

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