Most drivers in Pennsylvania know that driving under the influence of alcohol is a no-no, but many underestimate the amount of alcohol it takes to reach the legal limits. There are numerous factors that affect how alcohol metabolizes in the body, and a drink can affect one person way different than another one. This can result in people getting behind the wheel when they should not be driving.
According to the Stanford Office of Alcohol Policy and Education, gender plays a major role in how one metabolizes alcohol. In general, men have more of the enzymes needed to metabolize alcohol, and they are often larger in size and have more water composition than women. This allows men to drink more before they are legally drunk. The amount of food in the stomach also makes a big difference. Alcohol reaches the blood stream much faster when food is not present.
The speed at which one drinks is also a factor. Sipping a drink is better, as it takes longer to have an effect. Chugging or taking shots delivers alcohol to the blood much faster.
According to Richmond University, overall health affects the effect of alcohol. Illness and excessive tiredness speed up impairment, as does the use of certain medications. This includes prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter medicine and even some herbal remedies.
People can slow down the absorption of alcohol by drinking water in conjunction. Ideally, one should consume one glass of water with each drink. Those who live in or visit areas of high elevation will notice the effects of alcohol quicker than at sea level. One drink at elevations higher than 5,280 feet can equal three drinks at lower elevations.