Can I drive the morning after drinking?

How long does it take for the body to process the alcohol after a night of drinking? Will I be within the legal limit to drive home in the morning? 



How long after drinking can I drive? 

A common question we get is: can I drive the morning after drinking? The answer is kinda complicated and depends on a number of factors.

The legal limit for driving in the UK is “35 (22 in Scotland) micrograms of alcohol in 100 millimeters of breath” according to Gov.UK and it’s certainly possible that on the morning after a night out you might still be over the drink drive limit

According to Road Safety Scotland, it can take up to 12 hours to be safe to drive after drinking one bottle of wine or four pints of strong lager. The rule of thumb is that each unit of alcohol takes about an hour to process. So if you’re wondering how long after drinking can you drive, there can still be alcohol in your system for up to 24 hours afterwards (and up to 90 days on your hair!).

However, it’s difficult to generalise about alcohol because it affects different people in different ways. It depends on factors including gender, physical shape, the speed of drinking, and whether you ate before going out. The impact of an evening’s drinking will also depend on what you drink – since different drinks have different alcohol levels and alcoholic content in them – and how many drinks you consumed.

The best advice is always to be on the safe side. That means you shouldn’t drink any alcohol if you plan to drive the same evening. If you have been drinking, don’t drive the morning after if there’s a chance you might still be affected. Wait a few hours before driving and really take stock of how you feel before getting behind the wheel. There are no quick fixes for getting rid of alcohol – a shower or cup of coffee won’t make any difference, it just takes time. There’s no concrete answer to the question ‘when can i drive after drinking’ – we would just say wait at least a day.

Can I drink and drive? 

Short answer, no.

The dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol include, but are not limited to:

  • Slower reactions
  • Increased stopping distance
  • Poorer judgement of speed and distance
  • Reduced field of vision

On average 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured on our roads each year in drink-drive related crashes. What’s more, nearly one in six of all deaths on the road involve drivers who are over the legal limit. You don’t have to be in a crash to be stopped and breathalysed, if the police notice anything suspicious they have every right to stop you — around 100,000 drivers are convicted every year for drunk driving.

Keep in mind, breath is not the only way to detect a drink in your system. Blood alcohol levels and urine testing is also pretty standard. If you want to know more about the legal limits, visit the official government page.  So, next time you’re thinking ‘when can I drive after drinking’ , remember this info.

Above all, just stay safe and don’t make any rash decisions, especially if you’re under the influence.

Answered by Addaction on 05-Jun-2014

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