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Alcohol affects the body longer than people think

Perhaps you had a couple of drinks with friends after work. You also had some half-off appetizers during Happy Hour and a glass of water. You may think that makes it safe for you to drive, especially if you stopped drinking about an hour before driving home.

In reality, you could still be considered legally drunk even if you don't feel as though you are. Your blood can only metabolize alcohol so fast, and if you have more than one drink an hour, your body can't keep up. You may be among other West Virginia residents who don't realize that alcohol can remain in your system longer than you think.

How long does alcohol stay in your system?

Did you know that that drink you had three months ago could still be in your hair? That's right. Alcohol can show up in your hair up to 90 days later. It can stay in your urine for up to 48 hours and on your breath for up to 24 hours. Granted, that does not mean that your BAC will be above the legal limit that whole time.

The type of alcohol you drink could also affect how long it stays in your body. A large glass of wine could stay in your system for up to three hours while your body could metabolize a small shot of liquor in about an hour. A pint of beer could show up for two hours, and several drinks will stay in your system for several hours.

Just to make it more interesting, around 20 percent of each alcoholic drink you have goes directly into your blood stream without going through your small intestine first. If you have several drinks in a relatively short amount of time, your liver can't clean it out as quickly. This is why you get drunk.

How do you know that the driver next to you waited long enough?

As you travel, you have no way of knowing whether the drivers around you had anything to drink, let alone whether they waited long enough for the alcohol to leave their systems before driving. Drunk drivers are much more likely to make serious mistakes that could lead to you suffering injuries in a crash. If that happens to you, you may pursue compensation for the financial losses and other damages sustained in the aftermath of the accident.

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