Drinking alcohol - The morning after

Blog post posted on 14/03/23 |

How would you know if you were fit to drive the morning after drinking alcohol? IAM RoadSmart, the leading road safety charity in the UK, is warning drivers of the dangers of driving with a hangover.

Most people would think they are not a drink-driver, or worse that they won’t get caught. But what makes a drink-driver? Anyone who has an alcoholic drink and then driven? And how long should you leave it until getting back behind the wheel? People may have several drinks at home or to get a taxi home following a night out, have some sleep, wake up and then just jump in the car as it’s their normal routine but are they considering whether they are fit to drive?

According to research from the THINK!, around 5,500 people are failing breath tests between 6am and midday every year. The figures show that 58% of people who have four or more drinks on a night out sometimes drive the following morning, but that only one third of people are aware they could still be over the limit.

Your body can only process about one unit of alcohol an hour. Here is a guide to find out how many units are in your favourite drink.

  • Single small shot of spirits (25ml) 1 unit
  • Small glass of wine (125ml) 1.5 units
  • Bottle of lager/beer/cider (330ml) 1.7 units
  • Can of lager/beer/cider (440ml) 2.4 units
  • Pint of lower-strength lager/beer/cider 2 units
  • Standard glass of wine (175ml) 2.1 units
  • Pint of higher-strength lager/beer/cider 3 units
  • Large glass of wine (250ml) 3 units

It’s also important to remember that alcohol can affect people differently depending on sex, weight, age, and metabolism. The dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol include slower reaction times, poor judgement of speed and distance, and impaired vision.

You might feel okay to drive the following morning, but if the police pulled you over on your way to work, out shopping or picking someone up then you could be prosecuted for drink driving.

If you know you are going to be driving the day after a night out, then the following tips may help:

  • Consider a lower strength alcoholic drink
  • Choose a single measure instead of a double
  • Make every other drink a water or soft drink
  • Stop drinking before the end of the night, so your body has more time to process the alcohol before the morning

There are many consequences associated with a drink drive offence; if you are caught and convicted you could face financial and personal consequences, such as:

  • A minimum 12-month ban
  • A fine of up to £2,500
  • A custodial sentence
  • A criminal record
  • Increase in car insurance premiums
  • Losing your job
  • A criminal record could affect your ability to gain access to foreign countries, such as Australia and the USA

Don’t forget that the legal limit in England and Wales is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, while the limit in Scotland is lower at 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. So even though you might think you’re under the limit the next morning, you may be well over. Drink with caution, stay safe, leave the car at home, and consider what commitments you have the following day.

IAM RoadSmart calculated the true cost of your beer or glass of wine. Should it take you over the drink drive limit, the financial impact following a conviction could be as high as £70,000. It could be the costliest night of your life.

This total considers fines, legal fees, higher car insurance premiums, alternative transport costs and potential loss of salary following conviction.

That is why, to avoid costs of £70,000 or more, and putting your and other people’s live in danger, we always advise #NoneForTheRoad.