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Does coffee help sober people up?

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2023 | Drunk Driving

You may have had a few drinks when you realized you have work, class or an appointment in a few hours. You won’t be sober by the time you have to leave and driving drunk would lead to a DUI charge. But, you remember that you once heard or read that coffee can help sober people up. 

So, you put on a pot of coffee and drink a cup or two. Minutes later, you start to feel the effects; you’re more focused, the room isn’t spinning and you aren’t struggling to walk. Did the coffee really help do the trick? Here’s what you should understand:

Coffee doesn’t cancel the effects of alcohol

The truth is that coffee doesn’t help with inebriation. It’s a myth that comes from a common misunderstanding. 

Alcohol has a sedative effect. In large quantities, people may feel initially alert. As the hours pass, the same people may feel tired and unfocused. Some common effects of alcohol include visibility impairment and poor judgment. Coffee is a stimulant and improves people’s alertness and focus, which is why it’s a common drink at officers and college campuses. Within minutes people can feel the effects of the caffeine. 

Many people are under the assumption that coffee would cancel out the effects of alcohol. In theory, the stimulant would negate the sedative. But, it’s not so simple.

Coffee doesn’t rid the body of alcohol. If someone took a chemical breath test after drinking alcohol and coffee, they would very likely still have alcohol in their system. But, coffee can make people temporarily lose the feeling of inebriation.

While coffee can make it seem like you’re sober, that doesn’t mean that you’re safe to drive. Coffee affects people differently and drivers may drive more erratically as a result of the coffee and alcohol concoction. You could end up getting a DUI charge for believing this common myth.