When someone mentions drunk driving, most people envision someone who is under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol and is swerving all over the road. Although those drivers do find themselves under arrest for a DUI, not all cases match that scenario.

A person can face arrest even when he or she has not consumed alcohol at all or had just a little. That is because other substances can impair driving, and there are different factors involved in alcohol metabolism.

Drugged driving

Most people understand that driving under the influence of cocaine or other illicit drug is illegal. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discusses that a DUI can also occur from the ingestion of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Although not all medication impairs driving abilities, there are certain types that cause:

  • Dizziness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Impaired judgment
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision

Even though a medication may not cause impairments on its own, when combined with alcohol or a different medication it may have an effect, so patients should always discuss their ability to drive with their doctors.

Alcohol absorption factors

In other cases, someone may have just one drink or less and still have a high BAC, even when feeling ok. The Stanford University Office of Alcohol Policy and Education discusses various factors that slow down or interfere with alcohol metabolism.

Two main ones are weight and biological sex, which is why women typically cannot drink as much as men. Factors also relate to how a person imbibes. Someone who sips a drink will metabolize the alcohol faster than someone who takes shots. Drinking on an empty stomach also enhances alcohol’s effects. Along with medications, certain health conditions, such as genetic enzyme deficiencies, interfere with the body’s metabolism of alcohol.