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Drinking in the Heat - Why it's a Bad Idea

It’s a hot Saturday afternoon in July, and you just got back from a jog. A friend suggests that you have a few drinks and then hit the beach for a day in the sun. Images of a cold beer or margarita dance in your head before taking a dip in the ocean or a nice boat ride. Not so fast.

Drinking alcohol in hot weather can be a dangerous combination with the risks including DUI accidents, drowning accidents, boating accidents, and heat illness.

Every summer, lots of people drown because they were drunk in the water. Just ask any emergency department physician. Boating accidents are a huge problem, especially when people fall off the boat and get chewed up by the propeller.

Other times, they use personal watercraft when they’re drunk, and either suffer major trauma or accidentally drown.

Heat Intensifies Alcohol’s Effects

It’s no secret that alcohol affects balance, coordination, and judgement. All of these effects are intensified by sun exposure and heat.

When you’re drinking and doing activities in hot weather, you’re putting yourself at risk, even if you don’t have that much to drink.

In California, a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% is considered legally drunk. However, even at a BAC of .02%, your ability to perform two tasks at once or track a moving target can be impaired.

Once you reach .08% BAC (about 2.5 drinks in an hour), you start to lose small muscle control. It gets harder to focus your eyes, and it takes you longer to respond to an emergency.

Once you reach .08% BAC, the alcohol is affecting your vision, balance, reaction time, and speech, thereby making it more difficult for you to steer a boat or swim safely. If you’re swimming in the ocean, you can easily misjudge distances.

Alcohol Increases the Risk of Injury

Alcohol lowers inhibitions and increases reckless behavior and injuries. When people drink, they often misjudge swimming distances and when it’s safe to get behind the wheel.

Alcohol is a diuretic, which promotes dehydration. Both alcohol and hot weather dilate the blood vessels, therefore making one more susceptible to passing out.

Drinking in hot weather can lead to heat exhaustion caused by the dehydration. Drinking too much alcohol in the heat can lead to dehydration, shock, organ failure, and death.

Your safest bet for summer fun is to limit your alcohol intake to one drink, or better yet, stay alcohol-free during your summer activities and save the drinks for later when you’re in an air conditioned building and have arranged a designated driver or can call a cab.

Were you arrested for DUI ? Call the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to arrange a free case evaluation with one of Orange County’s top DUI defense attorneys!