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Why do intoxicated drivers think they’re sober?

On Behalf of | May 22, 2023 | Drunk Driving |

Many drivers who get pulled over for impaired driving believe that they’re fairly sober. Even if they admit to having a few drinks, they don’t think they’re intoxicated or impaired. They honestly believed that it was safe to drive when they got in the car.

This may be surprising, to an outsider, if that driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that is over the legal limit. Couldn’t they tell? How would they believe they were sober? But there are a few reasons why this happens.

Alcohol impairs judgment

First and foremost, alcohol itself impairs a person’s judgment. The more they drink, the more difficult it becomes for them to fully grasp their own level of intoxication. Someone who has had one or two beers may actually be less likely to drive because they can still feel how the alcohol is affecting them. Someone who has had numerous drinks may be so impaired that they don’t even realize it.

Drivers judge intoxication based on others

Next, when people are asked to judge how intoxicated they are, they often compare themselves to other people around them. This means that it’s very subjective. If they were in a quiet location with a lot of sober individuals – a church or a school – they would probably feel intoxicated. But if they were at a bar where everyone else was even more drunk than they were, they may think they’re sober enough to drive.

This general confusion over impairment levels sometimes leads to DUI arrests. It’s important for those who are facing charges to know about their legal defense options.