You’ve finished a long week at work and head to happy hour with a few friends before driving home. You’ve had a few drinks, but you are still okay to drive a few miles…right?

It can be more difficult than you think to determine whether or not you can get behind the wheel after drinking. When can you drive, and when should you start looking for a Taxi?

When are you okay to drive?

Legally, you cannot drive if your BAC is 0.08% or above. You may not realize that a number of factors, other than the exact number of alcoholic beverages consumed, change how your body processes alcohol, and alter your BAC. Some of the determining factors include:

  • Biology: age, weight, height, sex, personal metabolism
  • Daily choices: food that you have consumed, drugs, exercise, hydration levels
  • Feelings: emotional state, fatigue
  • Medical factors: medication, existing conditions such as diabetes
  • Beverages: type of alcohol, how quickly you consume your drinks, time passed since consumption

How can you stay safe?

There are a few ways that you can keep safe if you have been drinking:

  • Online calculator: There are a number of online tools that allow you to roughly estimate your BAC based on the number of drinks that you consume, your weight and the amount of time that you consumed them in. Note that these calculators do not take into account a number of the other factors involved in determining BAC.
  • Breathalyzer: Similar to breathalyzers used by police, there are breathalyzers available for consumer purchase. These tools allow you to get an accurate read on your BAC before you get into your car.
  • Don’t risk it: The consequences for driving under the influence are severe, and not worth the risk. If you plan on drinking, the best course of action is to find a designated driver, or to use a Taxi or ride sharing app to take you home safely.

How important is it to know your BAC?

It is extremely important to keep track of how much you have been drinking. In 2015, alcohol was involved in almost one-third of all driving fatalities in the state of New York. You do not want to live with either the legal or emotional toll that accompany a deadly automobile accident, so do not put yourself in that position.

Additionally, if you are charged with a DWI, you can face license suspension, heavy fines, jail time and raised insurance costs. Take your safety and your record seriously, but if you do get charged with a DWI, immediately contact an attorney who can help you through the legal consequences.