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The Cold, Your Body, and Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC): What You Need to Know

Alcohol has long been an informal prescription for “warming up” in the winter. And while winter drinking is a common activity for those in snow-bound locales like Indiana, you must know what is happening with your body when cold weather strikes. 

By understanding your body’s response to cold, and the specific relationship between cold weather, your body, and blood alcohol concentration (BAC), you may just spare yourself the hassle of a legal case this winter.

That Feeling of Warmth Is Not Necessarily What It Seems

The sensation of warmth you sometimes feel when drinking in the winter results from the opening of skin-level blood vessels. This does not necessarily mean that your body temperature is rising, though, as medical authorities have noted that alcohol consumption can actually cause your body to shed heat more rapidly.

While this biological effect does not necessarily increase your BAC, it may impair how you view your fitness to drive. For example, the feeling of warmth may lead you to believe that you can drive safely while muting winter’s detrimental effects on your physical and cognitive condition.

Just know that alcohol-induced feelings of warmth and well-being during the winter shouldn’t be your litmus test for whether to get behind the wheel.

The Relationship Between Cold Weather and Blood Alcohol Concentration

Does cold weather itself put you at risk of a higher blood alcohol concentration and an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI)? In some ways, yes. 

Research from Penn State notes that we often feel less need to hydrate during the winter, as we’re not experiencing environmental conditions that typically spark thirst. Because being hydrated can help moderate your BAC, winter conditions may pose an elevated risk of a high blood alcohol concentration.

Winter can also be disorienting and depressing, leading to the overconsumption of alcohol. This means an increased risk of poor decision-making, including the decision to drive while your BAC is beyond the legal limit.

Call Razumich & Associates If Alcohol Consumption Leads to Legal Issues This Winter

We know that cold weather conditions can affect the function of breathalyzer tests. This could lead to your BAC appearing higher than it actually is. Furthermore, changes in breath condensation and taking cold medicine can also obscure test results and lead to an unjust DUI arrest.

If you face any alcohol-related legal issues this winter, call Razumich & Associates, P.A., at 317-449-8661 or contact us online. Everyone deserves a defense, and we provide it.

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