According to the DUI Authority and most any other, drunk driving is a very serious offense, and to ensure that you don't have to experience it, it is important to know how many shots to get drunk.
Whether you're out at the bar, in the living room watching a movie, or outside grilling, having a few drinks may be the thing to do. In such situations, especially when you're having fun, it can be easy to lose track of how many drinks you've had, and sometimes difficult to know how intoxicated you are. Read on to learn how many shots to get drunk, so you know how to pace out your evening to keep you and others safe on the road, and you free of the costly hassle of a DUI.
There are many factors that influence your ability to process alcohol and the degree to which it intoxicates us. The most important factors are those of height, weight, and age. The body mass of the individual determines the proportion of their blood that can be comprised by indulging in alcohol. While personal factors may influence your level of intoxication, these factors are universal to all individuals, and we will explore them in-depth to determine how many shots to get drunk.
How Many Shots to Get Drunk
While there is no established standard or scale for the number of shots necessary to begin feeling or to become intoxicated, there are standard measuring factors such as height that must be taken into account. As obvious and yet curious as it may seem, the height of an individual affects the speed at which they become intoxicated. In fact, it is commonly believed that height more-so than weight affects the rate at which one becomes intoxicated.
It is thought that people who are taller take longer to become intoxicated. Alcohol begins to affect you when it filters from your stomach into your bloodstream, allowing the intoxicant to travel throughout your system, finding its way into your brain. Persons of greater height have larger circulatory systems, and thus it may be more likely that they take longer for the intoxicating effects of alcohol to take effect.
While the height of the individual is arguably the most important factor when considering how quickly they might become intoxicated, weight is often the most commonly referred to factor in the equation. The body weight of the individual has been focused upon by law enforcement and various other governmental agencies when seeking to define the level of intoxication of the individual. Charts have been created that provide a reference through which you may identify your weight, the number of shots you have had, and to then determine your approximate blood alcohol content.
Your blood alcohol content is what determines how intoxicated you are, with .08 BAC (blood alcohol content) generally being the standard at which criminal penalties and liability begin. Lower levels of intoxication, however, do still cause impairment, and your driving skills may be affected long before you are legally considered to be intoxicated. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is not recommended, regardless of how much you've had to drink, as the level of impairment experienced may vary largely from person-to-person, separate from their BAC.
The only safe driving limit that is advanced by authorities is zero shots of alcohol. By consuming zero alcohol prior to driving, you ensure that no alcohol can affect your abilities. All persons, whether 100 or 240 pounds, begins to feel impairment after just one drink. One drink is generally defined as 1.5 fluid ounces of 40% alcohol, 6 ounces of wine (1 glass), or 12 ounces of beer (1 can). Simply cracking open a single beer can effectively impair you, so know your limits and be careful.
Once you've passed a single drink, the influence of weight on blood alcohol levels and impairment magnifies. Persons weighting 100 pounds who have consumed only 2 drinks may reach a BAC of .08 and already be breaking the law. Comparatively, someone who weighs 120 pounds may not be illegally intoxicated until they've had 3 drinks. It is important to track your consumption to ensure you stay on the right side of the law with your drinking.
While heavier persons may be more capable of imbibing alcohol without reaching intoxication as quickly, they nevertheless become intoxicated within 4 or 5 drinks. A person weighing 240 pounds begins to feel impairment at the first drink like anyone else, however, they may not become legally intoxicated until after 5 drinks. A heavier weight can make alcohol affect you at a slower rate, but as mentioned personal factors also strongly drive this, so it is important to be mindful of your personal relationship with alcohol and to not rely too heavily on the charts.
The charts are useful, however, there are additional factors behind body weight that must be considered, namely body fat composition. Liquor is processed in the water of your body which runs through your lean body mass while it is not processed in fat. Two persons who weigh 200 pounds will process liquor differently, with a person with 100 pounds of body-fat processing alcohol like a 100-pound person while if they have only 20 pounds of fat at 200 they will process it more like a 180-pound person.
Bodyweight, composition, and height are the physiological factors that most influence how many shots to get drunk, but age has also been explored as a factor. Studies have found that older adults are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol in terms of driving than are younger persons. Moderate alcohol consumption in older adults causes a greater drop in driving precision than younger adults. Keeping this in mind, consider that the more years you have, the greater the impact that alcohol will have upon your ability to safely drive and avoid the dangers and detriments of a DUI.
While age, height, and weight are strong factors that influence how quickly you become intoxicated, the question of how many shots to get drunk can still vary depending upon other variables. The most important variable to consider is the alcohol content of your chosen shot. Most alcohols are 40%, however, this amount can range widely for shots, dropping down to low-alcohol cordials under 10%, up to specialized vodkas and other spirits that can be as high as 95%.
Consuming one ounce of alcohol that is 40% is entirely different from consuming an ounce of alcohol that is 80%. You will know the strength of your alcohol by the percentage that is advertised, which is sometimes represented as the "proof". To come to the proof of your alcohol, we simply multiply the percentage by two, so a 40% vodka would be 80 proof. A shot is generally considered to be the standard 40% alcohol content, so when computing how many shots to get drunk, make sure you consider how strong the alcohol is that you are enjoying.
Time is also an extremely important factor in answer to how many shots to get drunk. The average person metabolizes, or burns, one drink per hour, meaning 1 shot of alcohol, 1 glass of wine, or 1 can of beer. Each hour, one drink is processed through your body and thus taken out of your blood alcohol content. If you drink 2 drinks in 2 hours, by the start of hour 3, your body may have processed the two drinks you've had, and you are no longer impaired. The 1 hour processing time though can vary from person to person, so don't rely on it but use it as one of the many factors in determining your level of intoxication.
How many shots to get drunk? The answer is not entirely straightforward, and cannot be reached by simply relying upon a single chart or calculation. Your age, weight, height, body fat percentage, and also your chosen type of alcohol will all have a strong and direct impact upon your level of intoxication. First and foremost, keep count of how many shots you have. What kind of alcohol was it? How strong was the alcohol? How much time was there between drinks?
The many factors that affect your ability to drive and to effectively conduct yourself in a sober manner must be taken into account when you drink. Before driving, ensure that you are not in any way impaired, which can be determined by counting the number of drinks you've had and how many hours since you began drinking. If you've had 4 drinks in 5 hours, it is likely your body has metabolized all 4 drinks. However, if you've had 4 drinks in 2 hours, it is likely that you are impaired and your ability to drive has been lowered.
Check back to the DUI Authority for more information on how to stay safe. Erring on the side of moderation is always the best decision to keep yourself and others on the road safe from DUIs.