If you've purchased a BACtrack Smartphone Breathalyzer--congratulations! You now own one of the most powerful devices in the world to stay informed of how alcohol affects your body and mind. But are you using the app to the limit of its capabilities? Here are nine ways of maximizing BACtrack Smartphone Breathalyzers to get the most from your purchase.
1. Test yourself, every time you drink. The more you test yourself, the more complete a picture of your “drinking life” will be depicted by your BACtrack App. Try to test yourself while you are drinking, and especially when you are done drinking for the day--just be sure to wait 15 minutes after drinking to test yourself. (Why this is important.) Doing this, you should be able to capture your maximum BAC for every drinking session—an important piece of data for the future.
2. Use the Notes and Drink Logs. After your initial result is displayed, press OK, and then swipe 3 screens to the right. There, you can take note of what you are drinking, where you are, and who you are with. These small reminders don’t have to be elaborate—just enough to remind yourself the circumstances around a certain BAC reading. This will come in handy--especially during your periodic review.
3. Periodically review your Result History. Your Prediction and Result History isn't just a pretty graph to glance at—it can also be a powerful tool to assess drinking trends. For instance, do you tend to drink more or less on a particular day of the week? How about when you are with certain friends? For some, it may be sporting events that trigger spikes in your drinking patterns. For others, visits to the in-laws. How much higher is your BAC on one day compared to another? What’s the reasoning behind that? There’s so much you can learn from your Result History. Take the time to look and think about the motivations behind your actions. You might be surprised by what you find.
4. Don’t forget about your Prediction History. After reviewing your Result History, take a look at the small tails attached to your results. These tails represent how far off your BAC predictions were from your estimated result. For many, the length of these tails get smaller over time, indicating that your internal perceptions of your BAC are getting better. In other words, use of the Guess Your BAC feature over time actually increases your “drinking intelligence,” empowering you to make smarter decisions while drinking.
5. Keep your BACtrack App up to date. Be sure to check in for app updates regularly. We are constantly refining the app to work best for you, adding new features, making improvements, and connecting to new smartphones. If you experience any kind of hiccups with the app or with breathalyzer connectivity, this should be the first place to begin troubleshooting.
6. Use your results to stay connected with friends and family. Of course, you should only share what you feel most comfortable with—but don’t feel shy about showing off your BAC. It’s a great way to raise awareness of drinking levels—not just for you, but for others, as well. Knowing your BAC shows that you are an adult who takes drinking seriously, and that you are responsible for your own actions. The more we show off our BAC, the more people are aware that drinking should be done mindfully, with planning and responsibility at the core of our actions.
7. Don’t be afraid to test others. By purchasing a breathalyzer, you are showing great forethought and care for your well being and that of your loved ones. As you know, not everyone takes such care or responsibility. If you see a friend or a loved one who might have had too much to drink, or is about to make a poor decision, step up and let them know. It doesn’t have to be confrontational—you could even pose it as polite concern. “You sure look like you’re having fun. Let’s see what your BAC is?” Nothing’s quite as sobering as a person seeing their own BAC—especially if it’s higher than they expected. You then have the proof to argue they should take a cab home, sit out the next round, or just switch to water.
8. At the very least, use your BACtrack Breathalyzer once a month. Regular use greatly improves BACtrack Breathalyzer performance. If you fall out of the habit of using your breathalyzer, don’t worry—just be sure you blow into it when you have the chance. The reason for this is that if your BACtrack has not been used for an extended period of time (3 weeks or more), the sensor may begin to dry out. In order to maximize accuracy, clean the sensor by performing a test every few weeks, even if you don't intend on using it. Whether or not alcohol is present on the breath for the sensor cleaning doesn’t matter. The moisture in your breath keeps the sensor performing optimally.
9. Get your BACtrack calibrated regularly. Over time, all alcohol testers need to be calibrated to maintain accuracy, even police units. For BACtrack Mobile, we recommend that you send the breathalyzer in for calibration about once a year. For BACtrack Vio, we recommend calibration about once every six to eight months. More information can be found on our Breathalyzer Calibration page.