The Dangers of Driving With a Hangover

The Dangers of Driving With a Hangover

Being hungover is never fun. You’re nauseated, you have a headache, and maybe a general feeling of regret that you drank too much. You made the smart decision not to drive and spent the night at a friend’s house. But now it’s morning, and you want to go home. Few people consider that it might be dangerous to drive with a hangover. You’re under the legal limit, and you figure it must be safe. But studies have shown that driving with a hangover can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.

The Symptoms of Your Hangover Could Affect Your Driving

In an English study, participants drank to excess the night before and then drove on a closed course for 20 minutes the following morning. The hungover drivers showed significant increases in driver errors, slow reaction times, and speed variations. A Dutch study had similar results. It showed that drivers who had consumed 10 drinks the night before demonstrated increased lapses in driver inattentiveness, weaving, and other driving errors. The types of symptoms people feel during a hangover include dizziness, trouble concentrating, and drowsiness. It’s clear that these symptoms could lead to unsafe driving.

You Could Still Have Alcohol in Your System

In the English and Dutch hangover studies, the researchers did not start the testing until the alcohol level of the participants was .00%. But sometimes a driver can wake up from a long night of drinking with alcohol still in their system. It can take much longer for the body to eliminate alcohol then you may think. According to the AAA, it can take 75-90 minutes or longer for the body to eliminate just one standard-sized drink. So if you’ve had a substantial amount of drinks, you likely still have alcohol in your body even after sleeping for a few hours. The average elimination rate is .015% per hour.

So for example, if a driver stops drinking at 2 a.m. and has a breath alcohol content (BrAC) of .15% and then sleeps until 7:30 a.m., that driver could wake up with a BrAC of .08% which is over the legal limit in Maryland. The elimination of alcohol continues, but the driver could still be impaired (.06%) at 9 a.m., even after a shower and a cup of coffee. The only thing that eliminates alcohol in your system is time, and the driver in our example wouldn’t reach .00% until 1 p.m.

Contact an Experienced Maryland DUI Attorney

If you’ve been arrested after a night of drinking, you want an experienced lawyer on your side. The lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC will provide you with the best defense and get you the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us online or call us at 1-866-444-6363 to schedule your free consultation.

About Dianne Freed