Drinking tonight? Try this blood alcohol calculator

Listen to this article

Just over a year ago we ran a blog post about using yeast to lessen the effects of alcohol (HERE). As it turns out the Road Safety Group, the folks who handle SR22 Insurance, have an online Blood Alcohol Calculator; you can track your number of drinks and the effect it has on your BAC — Blood Alcohol Content.

If you’ve ever been pulled over by the police and given a Breathalyzer, you are aware of BAC. The legal limit in California and Maryland (and most states) is .08.

Doesn’t seem like much for professional drunks (alcoholics) who think .08 is for lightweights. “We don’t get drunk until we’re twice that!” Which should be all the proof anyone needs to be convinced that even comparatively small amounts of alcohol can impair one’s judgment.

Three martinis in four hours shouldn’t put you over the legal limit to drive, but why take the chance? Call a cab. (Wikipedia)
Three martinis in four hours shouldn’t put you over the legal limit to drive, but why take the chance? Call a cab. (Wikipedia)

The calculator has several variations for different beers and wines, so if say you drink only German beers with the occasional British or Irish ale, you can figure your BAC based on that. You can even calculate for the various light beers.

This is where it gets tricky. For mixed drinks this calculator is based on having “normal” drinks; i.e. the have a one-ounce shot of alcohol in them, which is pretty standard for most bars, nightclubs, restaurants, etc. Sure, at the corner tavern you might have a favorite bartender that tips the whisky bottle a little more now and then, but in most cases you’re getting one ounce of the alcoholic beverage.

Unless of course you’re having a drink that uses more than one alcoholic beverage. Then you might be getting two. For instance: how much alcohol is in a typical martini? It has three ounces of gin (or vodka) and a half-ounce of vermouth. The calculator accounts for that variation.

So, if you weigh 160 pounds and drink five martinis in four hours your BAC would be .14 — well over the legal limit.

I shared this with my friend — we’ll call her Liz — who is also a former professional drunk, and she asked, “So, it doesn’t calculate the way I made drinks for myself?”

“No Liz, we would probably have to double or triple the numbers on this calculator for that.”

Which really wasn’t abnormal for people like Liz and myself … it’s just not in the normal standards of reasonableness and moderation.

The truth being: if you’re an active professional drunk then you don’t need a BAC calculator anyway, because you’re already drunk and you know it — even if you’re not admitting it.

This calculator is designed for people that don’t go out intending to get drunk, but wonder about when they should stop so they can avoid the unpleasantness of being legally drunk. Is it one drink or two, or three? In how much time?

It should be pointed out, this calculator isn’t intended to be legal tender; it gives an approximation of BAC. For instance, you can’t use your exact weight; it has 20-pound increments. In other words: you can’t use it in a court of law.

What it can do is remind you to have good judgment and be responsible when you do go out for some fun that includes drinking alcohol.

It’s the weekend, have some fun!

•••• •••• ••••• •••• ••••

UPDATE: August 2, 2016: The Blood Alcohol calculator link above is no longer working, so we are adding This One from the Select Insurance Group. It’s at the bottom of the page, but read the information. Knowledge is power.