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A hangover is a reaction to excessive alcohol consumption. Depending on how much alcohol is consumed, you could still have residual alcohol in your bloodstream for up to 20 hours or more. If you were drinking the previous evening, hopefully you got a sober ride home. You will also need a sober ride the morning after a night out as well, it is not safe to drive with a hangover.

Effects of a Hangover

The morning after is called a hangover because of the residual effects of alcohol that “hang on” to your body. You will probably feel tired, you may have a terrible headache and could experience nausea and vomiting. This is a reaction to the alcohol, sugar and other foods in your stomach that have not been properly digested.

When you have a hangover your reflexes are slow, your attention span is short and you may experience memory loss. Did you know driving with a hangover can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk? You could still get a DUI for driving under the influence even if your BAC is under the .08 legal limit.

Alcohol strips the body of some nutrients, it dehydrates, and it affects the brain and central nervous system. If you think sleep, strong coffee, vitamins or other suggested remedies can end your hangover, you are wrong. Time, sobriety and consuming water may be the only options to help you get over your hangover.

Alcohol Absorption in the Body

People react differently to alcohol consumption based on their metabolism but there are averages calculated to measure how long an ounce of alcohol remains in the body. About 20% of an ounce of alcohol is absorbed through the stomach while 80% goes into the intestinal tract. It has no nutritional value.

It takes approximately an hour or two for the average body to fully absorb an ounce of alcohol in a glass of wine or 12 ounces of beer. Distilled spirits have a higher alcohol content and they may be absorbed faster and remain in the bloodstream longer. Beer is 4-7% alcohol while wine is about 12%. Whiskey and other distilled spirits can be 40% or more and sweetened liqueurs are 15-35% alcohol. Mixing alcohol with juices or soda changes the taste but it does not dilute the alcohol level, meaning a Bloody Mary or tequila shots can have the same effect.

An individual’s size, weight, and metabolism make a difference in how long it takes to become intoxicated. An average person weighing 150 pounds can contribute about 0.02 to their blood alcohol count (BAC) within an hour based on what they drink. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four to five or more ounces of alcohol within four or five hours or less, this can easily raise the BAC to very dangerous levels.

Don’t Drink and Drive

If you will be drinking don’t drive, even the morning after as you could still be intoxicated. Draeger is committed to making the roads safer and providing those convicted of drunk driving with reliable, discreet and easy to use ignition interlock devices (IID). If you or someone you know has been charged with drunk driving and need an ignition interlock device, we are here to help.

* Links to any third-party websites herein are provided for your reference and convenience only. Dräger did not create nor develop, and does not own, any such third-party website. Dräger does not endorse nor support the content of, nor any opinions stated in, any such third-party website links. Dräger is not responsible for the content of any third-party website or its accuracy. Nothing contained in this article or in any such third-party website shall be considered legal advice or be deemed to constitute legal advice. For any legal advice concerning a DUI arrest, charge, conviction or consequences thereof, you should contact an attorney of your choice.