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Alcohol Myths & Facts

Myths and misconceptions about alcohol and its effects on safe driving are widespread. Knowing the truth may mean the difference between life and death year-round.

Myth: "Alcohol is a stimulant."
Fact: Alcohol is a depressant. It acts on the central nervous system like an anesthetic to lower or depress the activity of your brain.

Myth: "Drinking coffee sobers me up."
Fact: Coffee cannot rid your system of alcohol. It just makes you a nervous, wide-awake drunk. Only time reverses impairment.

Myth: "I always stay away from the hard stuff."
Fact: Alcohol is alcohol. Beer has the same effect as straight scotch. One 12-ounce beer has as much alcohol as 1.5 ounces of whiskey or a 5-ounce glass of wine.

Myth: "I'm bigger so I can handle my liquor better."
Fact: Size is only one factor in how much you can drink. Metabolism, amount of rest, and food intake all play a part of how you handle liquor. Impairment in motor reflexes and judgment can begin with the first drink.

Myth: "Once I roll down the car window, I’m OK."
Fact: No amount of fresh chilly air can reverse impairment. You gain nothing by rolling down a window or turning on the air conditioner.

Myth: "I just drive slower."
Fact: Many people do, believing they can actually compensate for being impaired by creeping along at 22 mph. Still others race along at 75 mph. Either extreme can be very dangerous. The truth is impaired drivers are unsafe at any speed.

Myth: "All I have to do is splash my face with cold water."
Fact: Splash all you like. You can even take a cold shower. It may make you cleaner, but it won’t sober you up or make you a safe driver.

Myth: "A drink or two makes me a better driver."
Fact: Even one drink can cloud your thinking, dim your vision and slow your reflexes. Small amounts of alcohol can impair your judgment and put you and others on the road at risk of death or disabling injury.