You might have heard of alcohol poisoning, and you may even know someone who suffered from it and was taken to the hospital to have his or her stomach pumped out, but what you may not know is how easy it is to get that that point, and why so many people still make the decision to drink and drive when they’re that drunk.
The legal blood alcohol limit for driving is .08. It’s that limit for all states except for Utah; a state that just passed a law requiring their legal blood limit to be .05. When you’re at the .08 level you lose coordination, your vision suffers, and your reaction time is slowed for basic tasks, but what if you’re at double, triple, or quadruple that level? When your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) hits .40 or higher, you’re in danger of dying from alcohol poisoning.
Symptoms of alcohol poisoning vary, but most people will experience slow heart rate, vomiting, seizures, low body temperature, and a decreased gag reflex that could result in that person choking on their own vomit. They are also in danger of passing out and becoming unresponsive, and that’s when they are in real danger of death.
One man in Naples, Florida is a great example of how people can get this drunk and still drive. Although he didn’t crash before he was stopped, he was pulled over by police who suspected him of drunk driving. When he was given a breathalyzer test the police found that he registered .40.
Why would someone drive when they are so drunk they’re close to dying? It all comes down to how quickly you can drink yourself to death. In the case of the Naples man, he could have got into the car after binge drinking a toxic amount of alcohol. If you drink a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time, it can result in your blood alcohol levels spiking. In other words, you can go from not really feeling the alcohol to becoming extremely intoxicated in what can seem like minutes.
He was probably already over the legal limit of .08 when he got behind the wheel of the vehicle, but if he was binge drinking before he drove the alcohol would have caught up with him while driving. That’s why so many people are shocked when they think they’re fine to drive, are arrested for drunk driving, and then the breathalyzer shows they’re over the legal limit.
Your best option when drinking alcohol? Drink in moderation so you can avoid the possibility of alcohol poisoning, and always keep in mind that there’s no safe amount of alcohol you can drink before you drive.