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Am I Safe To Drive The Morning After Drinking?

By Tom Doerr

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.

The legal limit for driving is around 50 – 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood depending on the country you are in. This amount is easy to reach with just a couple of units of alcohol in one night so imagine much of an impact 10 – 20 units would have 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 heavy night can take more than 12 hours for the body to process the alcohol and it can still have an effect up to a day later. Most nights out or parties continue to 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.

Police are wise to occasions when people drink heavily such as weekends and holidays and will plan accordingly. The morning after Christmas, New Year’s Day and other holidays are times when forces perform random stops and road blocks. This is primarily a deterrent but they also aim to crack down on offenders.

Alcohol content is not the only problem that can impair driving ability, a hangover is caused by the brain being dehydrated which means you will find it difficult to concentrate, be 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.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Doerr, Tom "Am I Safe To Drive The Morning After Drinking?." Am I Safe To Drive The Morning After Drinking?. 22 Jun. 2010. 17 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Doerr, T (2010, June 22). Am I Safe To Drive The Morning After Drinking?. Retrieved August 17, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Doerr, Tom "Am I Safe To Drive The Morning After Drinking?"

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