If you’re drinking, especially away from home, everyone needs to know how much alcohol, over what period of time is too much alcohol. The basic to work from is the blood alcohol (BA) of a 150 pound person will be moved approximately .025 per normal drink per hour. A normal drink is defined as a 12 ounce beer, a 5 ounce glass of wine and 1.5 ounces of hard alcohol. The effect of each will be altered by a higher or lower level of alcohol in each, ie an 8 point beer, etc. as well as what is in the way of the alcohol absorption, lunch, dinner, and for those early weekend mornings, breakfast. The burn off rate is approximately .0125 per hour. An easier to remember rule is note when drinking is started the span of time since starting to drink, count the drinks. A maximum of one normal drink per hour should leave the average 150 pound person under .08, not necessarily safe to drive, but under the presumptive level of .08. Again, this will obviously vary, based upon size with the O lineman able to handle more and the Tiny Dancer less.
If you get to your car door and cannot remember how many over how long, then don’t open the door. An easier rule. But, if you’re going out, there is an even easier and smarter rule to rely on, arrange a dependable ride home before that first drink. By dependable, I mean someone who will be there when you need them and will NOT have been drinking. Far too many designated drivers have walked through my office doors because they get around their friends and let themselves get drawn into the festivities. And even more have lost count and track of time. So either live by the general rule of 1 per hour of a normal drink, not the Long Island Tea, and keep track of time, or don’t drive.