AAA: Driving hungover can be as dangerous as driving after having a few drinks

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AAA Auto Club reminds us that intoxication doesn’t end the morning after the party

As we prepare to ring in the New Year, many will visit with friends and families for New Year’s Eve parties — and many will choose to drink.  

In addition to reminding people of the dangers of driving under the influence this New Year’s Eve, AAA also reminds party-goers of the dangers of driving with a hangover.

“Driving hungover can be just as dangerous as driving after having a few drinks,” said Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs for AAA East Central. “After a night of drinking, many people will wake up with alcohol still in their blood, or they will wake up tired and disoriented.”

According to AAA, the only thing that will sober somebody up is time.  In fact, it takes between 75-90 minutes or longer for the body to eliminate the alcohol contained in one standard-sized drink.

“It takes much longer for the body to eliminate alcohol than most people think,” continued Podguski.  “That is why it’s important to not only arrange safe transportation the night of a party, but also the morning after.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a hangover typically begin when your blood alcohol drops significantly and is at or near zero.  

Those symptoms can prove to be dangerous to anybody behind the wheel, and can include:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headaches and muscle aches
  • Nausea, vomiting or stomach pain
  • Poor or decreased sleep
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • Dizziness or a sense of the room spinning
  • Shakiness
  • Decreased ability to concentrate

“We wouldn’t advise that anybody drives with any of these symptoms, regardless of whether they are recovering from a night of drinking or not,” continued Podguski.

Tips for Avoiding DUI this New Year’s Eve

Make transportation arrangements before you head out for the night.  Some options include: 

  • Designate a driver
  • Take a cab or a ride share
  • Utilize local public transit
  • Rent a hotel room or stay overnight where you are
  • If hosting a party, offer non-alcoholic drinks to designated drivers.  If possible, provide overnight accommodations to guests who’ve been drinking
  • Take the car keys away from friends and relatives who have had too much to drink
  • Commit to never driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

If you suspect a driver is under the influence, stay as far behind their vehicle as possible and as soon as it’s safe to do so, pull over and call 911.  

Since you can’t control the actions of other drivers on the road, the best protection is to buckle up every time you get into a vehicle.

For more information on drunk driving and further resources to help reduce impaired driving, click here.

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(This story was originally published on December 31, 2018)

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