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Be Careful About Hungover Driving


Drunk driving isn’t just a crime; it’s horrifically dangerous.  Thankfully, people are more aware of this fact, and more and more drivers are staying off the roads when they feel like they are intoxicated. But a lot of drivers will think nothing of getting behind the wheel the next morning. This leads to what is known as hungover driving.

Why Hungover Driving is Dangerous

First, your blood alcohol level can be over the legal limit the morning after you’ve had some drinks. Although in time, alcohol will leave your bloodstream, you shouldn’t assume that the morning after a heavy drinking event that your blood alcohol level is back to its normal limit. In fact, it can take up to 12 hours for alcohol to fully leave your blood, and in many cases, we don’t even get 12 hours of sleep.

Researchers in the United Kingdom recently conducted a study of hungover drivers. The study showed that just sleeping is not enough to wear off the symptoms of alcohol. In the study, people who had been drinking the night before still maintained a BAL level of about .02—lower than the legal limit, but still high enough to impair someone or make them unable to safely operate a vehicle.

But what was more telling is that when researchers tested their cognitive abilities, even with little or no alcohol in their blood, their abilities were still very much affected. Concentration, memory, and other skills that are necessary to safety operate a car were very much affected. Participants also demonstrated shorter attention spans, memory problems and coordination deficiencies.

Long Term Effects

The study showed that headaches and fatigue can actually last for an entire day after you are drunk, even if your BAL is at zero—think of it like your body weaning off medication. Even though you haven’t taken any medicine, your body may be affected as it adjusts to normalizing once the medicine stops being ingested. The British study found these hangover-like symptoms could continue for up to 24 hours after your BAL hits 0.

Double the Risk

Hangovers present two dangers to drivers. Aside from the dangers of the hangover itself, regardless of BAL, a night of heavy drinking can impact the quality of your sleep. That means the next morning, you are more likely to be too tired to drive safely.

Hangovers (and the attendant poor sleep or lack of sleep) don’t just affect drivers. If you work in a profession where injury on the job could occur, or if you work in a profession where you could injure others if you aren’t completely alert, a hangover can be a danger to you even if you arrive at work the next day safely.

Call the Clinton personal injury attorneys at Fox, Farley, Willis & Burnette, to help you recover damages for any injury you’ve sustained in an accident.



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