A person who drinks alcohol has a great deal of responsibility in his or her actions when it comes to personal safety and the safety of others. Alcohol use is widespread, and while many people are able to understand the dangers and consequences of drinking and driving, others may either have a lack of control over their drinking, or just not care. Since the consumption of alcohol can lead to poor judgment when it comes to having “just one for the road,” it can be easy for a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to exceed healthy levels, especially for people who are not used to alcohol or who are binge drinkers.
The national legal limit for driving under the influence of alcohol is .08%, but, that does not mean that any amount of alcohol in the blood when driving is safe. For women and men who drink excessively, binge drink, or have a night where there is a plan to arrive home safely, it can be easy to exceed the BAC level that determines when a person is legally drunk. Once that .08% level has been crossed, the dangers of alcohol poisoning begin to become evident, and can quickly lead to a tragic situation.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, and in toxic amounts, it can cause a person to stop breathing, have an irregular heartbeat or even prevent a natural gag reflex. Once a person has had too much to drink as defined by the legal BAC limit, he or she is well on the way to an alcohol poisoning situation. Signs of alcohol poisoning include:
- Slow or irregular breathing
- Inability to wake up, if sleeping
- Low body temperature
If any of these symptoms are present when a person has been drinking excessively, it is best to be proactive and call 911 for emergency medical services. By ignoring the signs of alcohol poisoning, an intoxicated person can be subjected to brain damage or worse.