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How the cold air affects breathalyzer tests

Even after the holidays are over, winter still has a high DUI rate compared to some of the other seasons. This season has the least amount of sunlight, meaning that cops are on high alert since most DUI arrests and crashes occur in the dark. The slippery roads also mean most drivers have a higher chance of losing control over their vehicle even if they are not drunk. This could potentially lead to some misunderstandings.

Winter can also prove especially problematic for breathalyzer tests. While there are already numerous factors that could lead to inaccurate readings, Pennsylvania’s borderline freezing weather adds a few more hazards to the list from how it can affect the device and the body breathing into it.

Cooler weather

Sites that sell breathalyzers warn those purchasing it that the device should not be kept in excessively cold or hot temperatures. Officers must make sure that their device calibrates to accommodate for the temperature they are using it in. If they leave their breathalyzer in their car overnight or they have the heater on full blast to counter the 20-degree temperature, there is a chance that the device itself will be unusable or the readings on it will be inaccurate.

Body temperature

Tests in the past have shown that breathalyzer test results can change when the subject has a different body temperature. Typically, whenever the person’s body temperature is higher, so is the BAC level on the device. Winter may be the coldest season of the year in Pennsylvania, but that only encourages residents to seek alternate methods of warming themselves up. Some put the heater on full blast in the car and cover themselves with as much layers of clothing as possible to stay warm. Additionally, fevers are more likely to occur in winter than any other season, which naturally increases the body temperature to a much higher level.


Due to the higher rate of fevers and common colds, many residents will start to take cough medicines or other treatments to help them cope with the sickness. Unfortunately, most products that help with these conditions often have a high percentage of alcohol in them to help make the ingredients in the product more soluble. Even if you did not have a drink, you should check the label of your medicine and see how you feel after taking it to determine if it is safe for you to drive in your state.

With how winter has even more ways for a breathalyzer to screw up and ruin your life with criminal charges, you should know what DUI defense options you have at your disposal. Pennsylvania inflicts harsh charges upon any DUI offender no matter how many times you have been arrested for it.

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Louis Emmi

Louis Emmi