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Good things for women to know about drinking and driving

A man who drinks, for example, five beers in three hours will typically be less affected than a woman who drinks the same amount in the same time. This seems unfair, but it is a reality that can lead to bad outcomes. For instance, take a woman who is having dinner with a male friend she split a glass of wine with. He seems fine to drive, so she thinks she is fine, too. However, she may well be at greater risk of being pulled over for DUI.

A snapshot of the risk

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism lists a few alarming facts. For example:

  • More women are becoming involved in alcohol-related crash fatalities, while the totals for men are on the downswing. Part of this could be due to more women driving themselves and their male partner. Another piece of the increase could be due to more women drinking overall.
  • A woman weighing 140 pounds and who has one drink on an empty stomach could be impaired enough to die in a single-vehicle crash.
  • Older women can be at especially high risk for alcohol-related driving issues if they are also on medication, and many are.

If you are a woman who likes a drink or two every once in a while, keep a few factors in mind when determining whether you are safe to drive, including medications you are on, your age, your genetics and any family history of drinking problems. It is always best to err on the side of caution and to take public transportation home or let someone else, such as a cab driver, give you a ride, which is better than getting your vehicle seized.


One interesting thing that pops up with women and social drinking is the prevalence of wine. Female drivers under the influence may have just come from a dinner, party or gathering where wine was the only drink served. Wine has a reputation for being refined and elegant. It is not a "hard" liquor like vodka, nor is it beer, which is popular at bars and poker parties. In many social circles, wine is acceptable, even encouraged, to drink starting as early as 11 a.m. However, wine is just as dangerous as vodka and beer. Perhaps more so if it leads to increased alcohol consumption plus driving afterward.

As a general rule, men can have somewhat more alcohol than women and be considered legally sober. No matter your gender, though, being pulled over is a scary experience, and you deserve fair treatment. An attorney can help protect your rights.

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