How To Pass A Breathalyzer: Is It Possible?
While we all know that the best advice is to avoid driving after drinking if you’re concerned about how to pass a breathalyzer test, we also know that life isn’t always perfect. Sometimes you think you’re okay to drive until you get onto the highway, and at that point it may seem safer to try and make it home than anything else. Or you may be relatively certain you’re under the legal limit but get pulled over as part of a routine stop and become concerned you may blow over the limit.
Whatever the reason may be, there are lots of popular myths surrounding tips and tricks that can help you fool a breathalyzer into showing you’re under the limit even when you aren’t. Unfortunately for people caught in this situation, most of these solutions are myths and a few of them are also extremely unpleasant. Before you put yourself through needless discomfort on top of the consequences of blowing over the legal limit, let’s take a look at these myths.
Penny Under Your Tongue
One of the most commonly heard myths regarding passing a breathalyzer test is to hold a penny under your tongue. Some say this trick will work because of a chemical reaction that occurs between the alcohol on your breath and the copper on the penny, neutralizing it to a level undetectable by the breathalyzer machines used in the field. Another explanation for this is the suggestion to hold the penny under your tongue, and then when you put your lips on the breathalyzer’s intake valve to blow a sample, you are supposed to slip the penny in front of the hole with your tongue, preventing the machine from reading the alcohol in your breath.
Neither of these are true. Copper in the mouth will not keep a breathalyzer from measuring your BAC, and putting a stopper in front of the intake valve will not work because the machine also includes a pressure sensor that will let the officer know if an appropriately sized sample has been given.
Cigarettes or Mouthwash
The next two proffered solutions are to either eat or smoke a cigarette before taking the test, or to use breath freshening sprays or a swig of mouthwash. Smoking a cigarette is thought to work because the smoke in your lungs will mask the device’s ability to read traces of alcohol on the breath.
Cigarette smoking actually used to cause false positives for sober people because semiconductor based breathalyzer reacted to multiple chemicals rather than just alcohol. The new machines don’t have this defect, but either way it certainly won’t help you. Mouthwash or breath spray actually contain alcohol and so are likely to get you in even more trouble as they can cause you to blow a falsely inflated BAC. Eating a cigarette won’t change anything, but it might give you nicotine poisoning on top of your already sticky situation.
There a quite a few suggestions on things to eat that can supposedly help you pass. These include clothing, toilet paper, charcoal, and even your own feces. Once intoxicated there is nothing you can eat that will help you pass a breathalyzer because the test measures air from your lungs, not your stomach? If you try this, the most likely scenario is you will end up on the way to the police station, stuck with the taste of your own sweaty t-shirt of feces in your mouth.
Hold Your Breath, or Hyperventilate
Holding your breath or hyperventilating are the last two popular suggestions. Holding your breath can actually falsely inflate your BAC result, because it allows more alcohol to evaporate off of your alveoli into your breath before you exhale. Hyperventilating, on the other hand, is the one trick that might help you in a pinch. If you are near the limit, this could save you from being arrested, as hyperventilating can fudge the results of a breathalyzer by up to 10% in your favor. This isn’t much, but it might be just enough to save you the financial and social consequences of your poor decision to drink and drive.
Curtis is a nurse educator who enjoy’s helping people understand more about alcohol safety and alcohol awareness.