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Drink Driving: The Morning After

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Many of us are partial to a big night out and the large majority of us are decent enough not to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking, but how cautious are we about driving the next day? Many people would chose to go on a night out and stay at a friend’s house before driving home or to work in the morning but this can be just as dangerous as driving the night before.

Depending on what country you are in, the legal limit for driving is around 50 – 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. You will easily reach this limit with just a couple of units of alcohol so imagine how 10 – 20 units would effect you even after a nights sleep. Obviously the tolerance to alcohol depends on an individual but the general rule of thumb is that one unit remains in the bloodstream for one hour.

A large intake of alcohol can often take more than 12 hours for the body to process and it can still have an effect up to a day later. A night out or party usually involves staying up until the early hours of the morning meaning you won’t get a full nights sleep, especially if you are getting up at your usual waking hour. You might assume that after sleeping the effects of the alcohol will have worn off but this is not the case.

An astonishing number of people drive while under the influence of alcohol the morning after drinking, but not all are so innocent; most do not realise that they are over the limit but some assume that even though they might still be breaking the law there is a much lower chance of being caught in the morning than at night when the police are waiting.

The police are usually aware of when people will be drinking heavily such as weekends and holidays and will plan accordingly, the morning after Christmas, new years day and other holidays are times when forces set up check points and randomly stop drivers to check for alcohol content. This is primarily a deterrent but they also aim to crack down on offenders.

It’s not just residual alcohol that can impair your ability to drive; a hangover is caused by the brain being dehydrated which means you will find it difficult to concentrate. A bad hangover will mean you are less alert, lethargic and have impaired vision, not to mention a sore head. Combined with residual alcohol levels this makes for a deadly combination that can catch unsuspecting victims with devastating consequences. The simple answer is to wait at least 12 hours and if you feel hung over, don’t drive.

Getting caught over the limit in the morning can still land you with a drink driving ban and many people end up hiring a driving offence lawyer to get them off the hook.