Did you know that you are putting lives at risk by driving the morning after drinking heavily? Addiction experts in Australia believe that sleep, taking a shower, getting some fresh air and even drinking coffee have no sobering effects whatsoever.

Dr. Mark Daglish, Senior Lecturer in Addiction Psychiatry at the University of Queensland and Director of Addiction Psychiatry at Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, says that “Approximately the body will get rid of one standard drink per hour.”

Dr. Daglish also added that many drinkers have a misconception that because they are suffering from a hangover, that they are sober.

The Australian Medical Association Queensland backed up Dr. Daglish’s statements by also saying that those who drank heavily the night before would still be over the limit.

Many patients who have had a big night on the drink are still over .05 (blood alcohol content) the following morning and possibly up to midday,” said AMA Queensland President Dr. Mason Stevenson.

So how exactly does alcohol affect your driving? Here’s how:

It Slows Down Your Reaction Time – Whether you drink heavily or not, the smallest amount of alcohol will affect the way you drive. For example, your body’s reaction to changing traffic lights will be slower than if you were completely sober.

It Affects Your Judgement – Alcohol could affect how fast you think you or the cars around you are driving or even the distance between yourself and another vehicle.

It Affects Your Vision and Hearing – Drivers that have consumed alcohol tend to solely focus on the road in front of them and forget what happens on the sides. For example, you might not see a car in a side lane, people crossing a street and even hear the sound of a car hooter.

Lack of Coordination – Those who drink will find it increasingly hard to do more than one thing at a time.

False Confidence – Alcohol has the ability to make people forget about their inhibitions and become more confident. However, it actually causes you to become less prepared for any unforeseen events that may occur.

While some people will experience these effects after drinking small amounts of alcohol, it does not mean that long term drinkers won’t feel these effects. Having a higher tolerance to alcohol does not exclude anyone from experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above.

The effects of heavy drinking can also be worsened and unpredictable when it is mixed with other drugs such as sleeping pills, marijuana, prescription medication and even painkillers.

So why take the risk and put not only your life, but the lives of others in danger?

Here are some tips to keep you and the people around you safe:

  • Pick someone to be the designated driver
  • Use public transport
  • Carpool with friends and family

If you are going to drink:

  • Make sure that you eat before you drink – This helps the stomach absorb alcohol slower.
  • Drink slower and keep tabs on how much you drink.
  • Consume low alcoholic beverages or alcohol-free drinks between each one.

So is it safe to drive the morning after drinking alcohol? The answer is a resounding NO!