How many drinks does it take to get drunk?

With the holiday season finally here, many people will be attending parties where alcohol is served. There is a lot of misinformation regarding how many drinks it takes to get drunk.

While .08% BAC is the legal limit, you actually feel the effects of inebriation well before you reach this limit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how the number of drinks impacts your BAC.


BAC increases with each standard-sized drink. The amount of a standard-sized drink varies according to what you’re drinking. If you’re drinking beer, the standard drink is larger than if you were drinking wine or liquor. This is because different types of alcohol have different potencies, and with a higher potency comes a smaller standard drink size.


Accordingly, four standard drinks increase a person’s BAC to .08%. Concentration is affected, which prevents a driver from focusing on the road. Visual processing is also impaired, as is perception. As a result, a driver may assume the road is clear due to his impaired perception, even when that’s not the case. Memory, speed control, and muscle coordination are also affected at four drinks. As a result, your mind may recognize a hazard, but your body may not be able to react in time.


While it’s well under the legal limit, a BAC of .05% can also cause issues. After just three standard drinks, a person will experience problems with muscle control, feelings of mild euphoria, problems steering, and problems tracking object movement with your eyes. Alertness is also lowered, which will prevent the driver from identifying potential hazards and reacting appropriately.



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