As Memphis approaches summer, its residents eagerly await the warmer weather and inviting outdoors. Few people know how to enjoy nice weather quite like a Tennessean, as evidenced by our vibrant nightlife and booming tourism industry. However, there is a darker side that comes with the freedom of summer: an increase in DUI arrests and convictions.
Studies from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration indicate that drunk driving incidents nearly double in the summer. Part science and part enthusiasm, after the events of last year, many law enforcement officials are wary of the potential dangers of the coming summer.
Heat and alcohol
If you’ve ever had a few drinks at the beach or on one of Memphis’ riverboats, you’ll have noticed that you feel drunker and hotter than usual. Alcohol and heat mix in a few ways that impact your body chemistry and hydration:
- Alcohol is a vasodilator: Consuming alcohol causes your blood vessels to dilate, making it easier for heat to rise to the skin and causing that “flushed” look.
- Alcohol is a diuretic: Like coffee, alcohol makes the kidneys release more water. Combined with sweat and the need to use the bathroom more while drinking, you are more at risk of dehydration.
- Alcohol is a drink: While drinking, your body does not feel thirsty, implying that you are more hydrated than you are.
When these factors combine with summer activities like volleyball or swimming, you may become dehydrated. But this is not the only risk of drinking in the summer: you will likely get drunk faster on fewer drinks, leading to poor judgement at unexpected times. Many people believe they can drive in this condition, having become used to a higher tolerance.
A country eager for the summer
This year, both locals and tourists will take to the Volunteer State’s scenic roadways with gusto, hoping to make the most of this summer. In response, law enforcement agencies across the state will launch campaigns against drunk driving and aggressively pursue arresting drivers that may endanger others.
Responsible Tennesseans can protect themselves and others by staying aware of their consumption, drinking lots of water and sticking to a designated driver plan. Individuals who have been charged with a DUI can reach out to a local attorney familiar with Tennessee’s DUI laws.