For alcoholics and people with drinking problems, the only “safe” drinking limit is zero. For the rest of us, learning our drinking limits can help us use alcohol cautiously and responsibly.
The best measure of your drinking limit is your Blood Alcohol Level or BAL.
Most people experience the effects of mild intoxication when their BAL reaches .05. In most states if your BAL reaches .10 you are considered to be driving under the influence. BALs about .20 cause severe mental and physical impairment, and at levels of .30 – .40 can lead to coma and even death.
Estimating Blood Alcohol Levels
Keep in mind that a number of factors will affect your BAL, such as the amount of food you’ve eaten, what you’re drinking, and how much and how fast you’re drinking.
One drink is equal to 1.25 oz. of “hard” liquor, or 12 oz. of beer, or 4 oz. of wine.
Subtract .01 from your BAL for each 40 minutes that have passed since you began to drink.
Subtract .03 for each 2 hour period that has passed since you began to drink.
(Example: If you are 140 pounds and have had three drinks in the past 2 hours, your BAL would be .09 minus 03 or 06 RAT. )