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Alcohol affects driving ability before you hit the legal limit

Drunk driving charges are something that nobody ever wants to face. The penalties associated with being convicted on these types of charges are very serious. The laws against drunk driving do serve an important purpose. They are meant to discourage drivers from putting themselves and others in dangers. The fact is that you might be placing yourself and others in danger even if you aren't legally drunk.

In order to be legally drunk, your blood alcohol concentration has to be at or above .08 percent. Even below that level, there are still effects on your driving that can make it difficult to drive safely.

By the time your BAC is at .02 percent, you probably can't track a moving target. You likely aren't able to divide your attention between two tasks, such as steering and watching the roadway.

When your BAC reaches .05 percent, your coordination is starting to become lax. You will have trouble responding to hazards in the roadway. In most cases, you will have trouble steering your vehicle by the time your BAC reaches this level.

If you have been drinking at a holiday party and find that you need to drive yourself home, you should be aware of the possible effects that alcohol can have on your ability to drive. You should also be aware that you might end up having to answer questions to a law enforcement officer who stopped you for the suspicion of drunk driving.

It is vital that you understand your rights if you are stopped by police officers. You have the right to remain silent, and that is one right that you should exercise. You also have the right to have an attorney present if you are questioned. That is another right you should exercise.

Source: United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "BAC Levels," accessed Nov. 26, 2015

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