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Why does it feel like you get drunk faster in the sun?

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2022 | DWI

Many people around Erie taking advantage of the last days of summer lakeside or poolside indulge in alcoholic beverages of every kind. It often wouldn’t be a day in the sun without a few (or more) drinks.

There’s a widespread belief that when you drink alcohol in the sun, you get drunk faster. That’s because people often seem to feel the effects of alcohol more quickly and more strongly when they’re spending the day at the beach than when they’re inside.

It’s the effects of the sun combined with the effects of the alcohol

There are reasons for that. You’ll have the same blood alcohol concentration (BAC) whether you drink a bottle of beer in the hot sun as you would if you drank it in your home (everything else being equal, like how much food you’ve consumed). However, being out under the hot sun comes with its own physical effects. These can include:

  • Dehydration (which alcohol exacerbates rather than helps)
  • Heat exhaustion can lead to dizziness, nausea, headaches and more serious consequences, like heat stroke
  • Sunburn, which can be made worse if you’re drinking and neglect to reapply sunscreen regularly

Another danger of drinking in the hot sun is that it’s easy to lose track of time (and drinks). If you’re lying down, you may not feel the full effect of what you’ve consumed until you get up. 

Take precautions if drinking at the lake or pool

All of these things can interfere with your ability to drive safely. That means you’re more likely to get pulled over. While your ability to drive may not be seriously impaired by the alcohol alone, there could be enough in your system to put you over the legal limit – especially if you’re under 21 and subject to zero tolerance laws.

For all of these reasons, it’s crucial to be aware of how much you’re drinking. You can help prevent the worst effects of the sun by drinking plenty of water instead of or at least alternating with drinks of alcohol. You also need to have a plan for getting home without driving if you’re going to drink (that doesn’t include riding with someone else who’s been drinking). 

A DUI conviction is no way to close out the summer. If you are facing a drunk driving charge, call Quinn Law Firm at 814-806-2518.


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