Going out, drinking a few drinks and having fun is enjoyable. Whether you are unwinding with a beer after a long day at work or sipping cocktails to celebrate a special event, you may or may not intend to get fully drunk. Regardless of whether it is your intention, though, there is a good chance you will end up at least tipsy. If your blood alcohol level exceeds the legal limit, you need to get a driver. 

It can be difficult to determine when this happens, though, because people are often more inebriated than they realize. If you just assume you are okay to drive after drinking, you could easily end up with a DUI. Consider the following reasons why it is possible that you are drunker than you realize.

1. You drink by comparison to friends

Many people make the mistake of pacing their drinking and gauging their inebriation by comparing themselves to the people around them. If you are out with friends who seem completely sober after two drinks, you might also feel sober after two drinks—even if you are not. Rather than gauging your inebriation by comparison, measure it based on your own habits and characteristics.

2. Gauging inebriation is hard

It is also true that the more inebriated you are, the less able you are to gauge your own inebriation. This is somewhat ironic, but it makes sense given the fact that judgment deteriorates the higher your blood alcohol level is. In short, the drunker you are, the less likely you are to realize that you are drunk. This is a dangerous paradox, and it makes gauging inebriation very difficult.

3. You do not account for physicality

One of the most important factors—yet most often overlooked—is each person’s individual physicality. Factors such as race, weight and other physical features all have the ability to impact how quickly or slowly you absorb alcohol. In fact, how you process alcohol may be hereditary. Because of this and the aforementioned factors, too, it is important to have a designated driver any time you plan to drink.