If you have a favorite local watering hole, you may have developed a rapport with the wait staff there. Few things can be as cheering after a stressful day at work as a warm greeting from someone who makes the perfect martini.
Especially if you drink frequently, you probably work hard to recognize and respect your own limits. You may know, for example, that just one drink per hour leaves you sober enough to safely drive home.
What you may not realize is that cultivating a personal relationship with bartenders and wait staff could make it harder for you to make responsible driving decisions after drinking.
Regulars and good tippers may receive heavier pours
One of the ways that restaurants and bars make a profit by selling alcohol is by controlling costs. Having specific recipes and expecting employees to only add a fixed amount of liquor to a mixed drink ensures a specific profit margin for every beverage sold. The constant use of the same recipe also allows customers to safely plan their consumption.
Still, bartenders recognize that regulars sometimes want a little stiffer drink than usual. They may add an extra half-ounce of liquor to a drink as a way of expressing appreciation for a regular or someone who tips generously.
This offers the customer a great deal and a stronger and therefore technically cheaper drink. However, for someone tracking their alcohol consumption to safely drive home, a heavy pour could be the difference between getting home safely and getting pulled over for driving while intoxicated (DWI).
The police aren’t likely to care about your efforts to stay safe
If a police officer pulls you over and you admit that you have had some alcohol but that you were careful to avoid over-consuming, they will likely ask you to perform a field sobriety test and possibly also the chemical breath test.
If the results of those tests give the officer probable cause to suspect impairment, they will arrest you for a DWI. Your attempts to be safe will matter far less to the police officer than your performance on the field sobriety test or your blood alcohol concentration according to the breath test they performed.
Recognizing how your daily habits could increase your risk of a DWI charge can help you stay safer while drinking.