As many as one in five drivers have risked driving the "morning after” a night of heavy drinking, when they may still be over the limit, according to a new survey from road safety charity Brake and Direct Line. Almost one in ten (9%) do it at least once a month, and 5% take the risk on a weekly basis.
The amount of time it takes for the body to break down alcohol depends on many different factors such as age, weight and metabolism but, as a rough guide, it takes around an hour to process a single unit, says Brake. However, one drink rarely contains just one unit of alcohol; it will take the body around three hours to break down the alcohol in a large glass of wine or a pint of strong lager.
If someone drives at 8 am after they have been drinking until midnight, there is a serious risk they could still have alcohol in their system and not be fit to drive. Around 12% of people in the study said they would drive at 8am or even earlier.
One in eight drivers who fail a breath test are caught the morning after, and more drivers have been caught over the limit after a crash between 6am and lunchtime on a Monday than on any other weekday for the last three years.
"If you can’t be sure that you won’t be over the drink-drive limit the morning after a few drinks, then don’t risk getting behind the wheel,” said Rob Miles, director of car insurance at Direct Line. "That said, even if you can legally drive, it’s still better to make alternative travel arrangements, as even just being hungover or tired could have an adverse effect on your attention span and driving ability.”
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