The fact that drunk driving is incredibly dangerous is common knowledge, and yet people get arrested every day for getting behind the wheel while under the influence. Some of these people who get arrested know that they’re drunk and that their decision could have endangered others.

Other individuals may not realize their degree of impairment until the police stop their vehicle and perform a roadside sobriety check. While ignorance is no excuse for endangering the lives of others, it can at least help the victims of those unaware drunk drivers better understand how people could make a decision that puts others at risk.

Those who drink, particularly in social environments, don’t know how drunk they are

Evaluating how alcohol impacts the human body is difficult, as different people have different degrees of tolerance. Two individuals of the same age, weight and gender may have different metabolic capacities for alcohol depending on factors such as their racial background, their experience drinking alcohol previously and other issues, ranging from what they have eaten to underlying medical issues.

In other words, it simply isn’t possible for there to be a universally applicable system to guess how many drinks might be too many for safe driving. Individuals instead often gauge themselves internally before leaving a party or bar. Unfortunately, in a social environment, people determine both their level of impairment and whether they should continue drinking based on the actions of others.

In other words, alcohol-fueled social environments may increase the likelihood of someone choosing to drive while drunk, possibly because they don’t recognize how impaired they are. These individuals can cause substantial risk for others by causing crashes that can injure people, damage property or even kill someone.