How long should you wait after drinking before driving?

Many, if not most, motorists believe that it is fine to get behind the wheel the morning after a night of heavy drinking. Many believe that if they have been sleeping, they are sober enough to drive once they wake up. But the truth is that their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) could still be over the legal limit.

In 2013, in the UK, around 740 alcohol related accidents took place in the morning, with over 5500 individuals failing breathalyzer tests in the morning. The most common reason given for drunk driving in the morning is to get to work. Here’s what you need to know if you don’t want to be a part of these statistics:

How quickly is alcohol removed from the body?

Alcohol is removed from the body at the rate of one unit per hour, but this varies greatly and is dependent on a number of factors. According to the NHS, the rate at which alcohol is processed depends on a person’s size, sex, age, the state of the persons liver, metabolism, how much food the person has eaten, the type and strength of the liquor that has been consumed and whether the individual in question has taken any medication.

Can the process be sped up?

Technically, the process can’t be sped up. Consuming a lot of food or water may help you feel more sober, but won’t help you pass a breathalyzer test if you are pulled over by the police on suspicion of drunk driving.

What can you do if you have to be somewhere the morning after a night of drinking?

The simple answer is to walk, take public transport or to have someone else drive you. Since there are so many variables as to how and when alcohol will be completely removed from the body, there is no way to accurately manually calculate when you can legally get behind the wheel after a night of drinking.

However, if due to some reason you don’t have these options available and you have to drive, technology is available that can calculate your blood alcohol concentration for you.

Buy a personal breathalyzer – Simply breathe into the mouthpiece of your breathalyzer after turning it on and it will tell you your blood alcohol concentration. Once it gives you a result that shows you are under the legal limit, you can drive safely. It is best to buy a breathalyzer which is known for high accuracy for reliable results.

There is also an array of calculators available as downloadable Smartphone applications that were designed for the purpose of telling users when they can legally drive after drinking. The user simply enters his or her weight, gender, the number of drinks and the types of drinks and the calculator gives an approximate time after which they can drive.

However, these calculators can only estimate a ballpark figure since they cannot account for an individual’s specific metabolism or the condition of the users liver. If you want to rely on technology, a personal breathalyzer is your best option.

Author Bio:

The Law Office of Martin D. Kane provides aggressive criminal and DWI defense services in Kew Gardens, NY. Call us for a Free Consultation at (718) 793-5700

Get that Breathalyzer you’ve always wanted.
Sign up today for weekly tip and tricks for drinking smart. Get a full PDF Copy of our BAC Chart.