North Carolina’s drunk driving laws are fierce — and you don’t want to find yourself facing a charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI) under any circumstances. Punishment if you’re convicted usually involves mandatory jail time, even at the lowest-level offense.
A lot of people make the mistake of trying to sober up quickly after they’ve been out at a party or drinking in a bar with friends — but all those methods you hear about how to sober up for the drive home are fictions. For example:
1. Eating bread or pretzels won’t keep you sober
Have you heard this one? The theory is that the bread products will “soak up” the alcohol in your stomach and keep you from getting intoxicated. In reality, all it does is slow down the rate of absorption of the alcohol into your bloodstream — which means that you’ll probably keep feeling drunker the longer you go. You could leave the party feeling fine and that alcohol could kick in halfway to your home — something you definitely don’t want to happen!
2. You can counter the alcohol with caffeine
On television, when a character gets drunk and needs to sober up, someone puts a pot off coffee on almost immediately. In real life, people try coffee, Coke, and energy drinks — all of which are loaded with caffeine. The only thing this accomplishes is that instead of being a sleepy drunk, you’re now a wide-awake drunk. Don’t try this.
3. Dousing yourself with water
Some people try hydrating themselves with water to sober up faster, believing that the alcohol will move through their system faster. It doesn’t (although the extra fluid will help with a hangover later). Throwing yourself under a cold shower will wake you up — but just like the caffeine, it won’t make you any less intoxicated.
So, what does work? Time. The best thing to do — and the only real way to avoid a drunk driving charge — is to get a ride home or stay where you are until you’ve slept off the alcohol.
If you make a mistake and are charged with drunk driving, be compliant with the officers — and be silent. Let your defense attorney do all the talking for you.