Get a FREE Car Check

The morning after: when can i drive after drinking?

The Morning After_ When Can I Drive After Drinking new

After a night out with friends, it’s not uncommon to wake up the next morning, brew a strong cup of coffee, and consider whether you’re sober enough to drive to work or run errands.

Many of us rely on subjective measures of sobriety – feeling reasonably clear-headed, for instance – to make this decision.

Myths about sobering up quickly, such as taking a cold shower and sleeping it off are just that – myths.

These methods might make you feel more alert but do nothing to lower your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This misunderstanding leads to a dangerous gap between perceived and actual sobriety, especially the morning after drinking.

In this post, we’ll explore why you can’t rely on subjective measures such as ‘feeling fine’ when it comes to alcohol and driving. We’ll also highlight the risks of deciding to drive the morning after drinking and emphasise the importance of making informed choices by using a drink drive limit calculator.

Why It’s Hard to Gauge Your Safety to Drive the Morning After Drinking

On average, the human body metabolises alcohol at a rate of about one unit per hour.

If you’re drinking spirits, this is quite simple to calculate. A single pub measure of 25mls is equal to one unit.

However, the units in other drinks vary significantly.

For example, some low-strength lagers have just over 2 units in a pint whilst stronger lagers have over 5 units per pint. The same goes for cider and wine.

Here are a few examples to give you an idea of the number of units in each drink and how much they can vary between brands:

  • Pint of Stella Artois (5.2% ABV): 2.95 units
  • Bottle of Budweiser (330ml, 4.5% ABV): 1.48 units
  • Large Glass of Wine (250ml, 15% ABV): 3.75 units
  • Small Glass of Wine (175ml, 12% ABV): 2.1 units

However, it’s not just the legal amount of alcohol itself that can be tricky to calculate.

Alcohol metabolism is a complex process, influenced by factors such as weight, gender, age, food intake, hydration, medications, and liver health.

So, whilst one person might take an hour to process one unit of alcohol, your body may take much longer.

Depending on how much you’ve eaten, drank, and even slept, your body could take more time to process the same amount of alcohol you consumed the previous week.

The key takeaway here is that there’s no one-size-fits-all rule for how quickly your body eliminates alcohol.

This variability makes it extremely challenging to gauge whether you’re legally safe to drive the morning after drinking.

What’s the Driving Alcohol Limit?

 In the UK, the legal limit for drivers is:

  • 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood

That’s about 3 units of alcohol for most women and 4 units for most men.

However, this is not a hard and fast rule.

As explained above, there are many factors that mean even if you drink less than this, you could still be over the driving alcohol limit several hours later.

Penalties for Drinking and Driving

Exceeding the driving alcohol limit carries severe consequences, including fines, driving bans, and even imprisonment.

It’s crucial to understand that you could still be over the legal amount of alcohol the morning after drinking, even if you feel sober.

The risk of unknowingly being over the limit and facing legal consequences is higher than many anticipate.

Drink Driving Morning After Calculator

This drink drive limit calculator is an invaluable tool for estimating your blood alcohol content based on the amount of alcohol you’ve consumed, along with personal factors such as weight and gender.

While this calculator is a helpful guide, it’s always safer to err on the side of caution.

If in doubt, wait longer before driving or consider alternative transportation methods.

Seeking Legal Help if You’re Caught Drink Driving

If you find yourself facing a drink driving charge, it’s crucial to seek legal advice immediately.

MAJ Law are specialist drink driving defence solicitors, offering expert guidance and support to help you avoid a conviction and all its associated challenges.

If you have any questions or need advice regarding UK drink driving law, get in touch with their knowledgeable and experienced team on 0151 422 8020. Alternatively, fill in the contact form on their website for a swift and well-informed response.