Drivers in Massachusetts may think they know when they have had too much to drink before they get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, how you feel does not necessarily mirror what your blood alcohol content is. Different factors determine how alcohol is absorbed and, because of this, many people drive when they should not.

Stanford University discusses a variety of factors that can affect how alcohol is metabolized, which affects how intoxicated one may look or feel. Gender usually plays a big role, and most men can drink more than women before reaching the same BAC. Not only do males weigh more (which is a factor in metabolism), but women are also not able to metabolize alcohol as well due to the lack of necessary enzymes. 

Other factors involved include:

  • The rate of drinking
  • The amount of food in your stomach
  • Medication use
  • Health conditions

Some people think that the type of alcohol they drink affects how drunk they get, but this is not true. The CDC says one beer has the same alcohol content as a glass of wine or shot of hard liquor. However, your glass of wine or cocktail at home may contain more alcohol than those in a bar or restaurant because the pours may be bigger.

Tolerance also plays a role in how people feel when drinking. Those who drink more often can handle more alcohol than others, but it is important to know tolerance does not affect BAC. This results in drivers getting behind the wheel because they feel ok, but if they were pulled over and had their BAC tested, they would be found to be over the legal limit. That is why it is smart to always use a designated driver if you drink any amount.