Driving While Hungover – Does It Increase Your Risk of a Crash?

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on August 22, 2023  in Car Accident News. Updated on August 25, 2023

stock image of young female driver not feeling wellA night of fun could leave you feeling worse for the wear the next morning as celebrating morphs into the dreaded hangover. While many people are aware of the discomfort they may experience, few consider its potential impact on driving safety. And while you may not be legally drunk hours later or even the next morning, is driving while hungover dangerous?

In this blog post, the attorneys at Lynch Law Firm, PC explore the effects of driving with a hangover, including why it is a crash risk and the potential legal issues that could result.

Do you need legal help after a collision involving a drunk or hungover driver? Call our law offices 24/7 to get your questions answered. Our New Jersey auto accident lawyers are experienced and ready to help.

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What Are the Effects of a Hangover?

A hangover is more than just a headache accompanied by a queasy stomach. It often comes with other unpleasant symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue, difficulty staying awake
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Inability to focus
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea accompanied by vomiting
  • Feeling dehydrated
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Feeling irritable, shaky or anxious
  • Heightened sensitivity to light and sounds
  • Muscle aches

These symptoms should be taken seriously, because they can significantly affect your ability to operate a vehicle safely. Your reaction time to road hazards slows down, judgment also becomes impaired, and your coordination suffers. All these skills are critical and help you to operate your vehicle safely.

What Is the Difference Between Driving Impaired and Driving Hungover?

It’s important to distinguish between driving impaired due to alcohol consumption and driving while hungover. Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal and greatly increases the risk of a catastrophic accident.

On the other hand, even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is not above New Jersey’s legal limit, all drivers owe a legal duty to prevent causing harm to others. Keeping this in mind, when you drive with a hangover, you are still impaired, and the aftereffects could significantly increase your risk of a crash.

What Are the Legal Implications of Driving With a Hangover?

Driving while hungover might not have the same legal consequences as driving under the influence. However, it can still be considered negligent behavior.

Negligence means failing to exercise reasonable care. Drivers who cause a crash while driving with impaired abilities could be held liable for damages. Victims injured in these collisions might seek compensation for medical expenses, property damage, and more.

When Is It Safe to Drive Again After Drinking?

It is not possible to give an exact time, because how quickly alcohol wears off varies from person to person. It depends on several unique factors, including your body weight, age, even your gender. Women tend to take longer to overcome the effects of alcohol simply because they inherently have less water in their bloodstream. If you are younger, you also have more water in your bloodstream, which means it will take longer for the alcohol to wear off.

Regardless of your age or any other factor, it is best to avoid driving while you still feel the effects of a hangover. Getting behind the wheel and driving puts your safety at risk, as well as the safety of others.

What Are Some Alternatives to Driving With a Hangover?

If you find yourself hungover after a night of drinking, consider these alternatives:

Appoint a Designated Driver

Remember to ask yourself if getting behind the wheel when you are feeling hungover is worth the possible risk of getting into a crash. That is a decision that could have a lasting impact on you.

Ridesharing Was Invented for Moments Like This

Ridesharing is a 24/7 option that gives you a much better chance of getting safely from your party to your home or a nearby hotel. Take advantage of it. You may be able to share the cost if you have other friends who also need safe transportation after a night of celebrating.

Consider Staying Over

If you know your host well enough, ask if you can stay over and wait until the effects have worn off.

Arrange for a Family Member to Pick You Up

If nearby, try to arrange for a friend or family member to pick you up from your night out.

In short, it is better to avoid the risk of a crash, as well as the potential legal consequences. It is true that with a hangover might not carry the same legal penalties as for driving under the influence. However, it is still important to recognize the potential risks and consequences. Your safety and the safety of others sharing the road are critical factors to consider.

Call Our Trusted Law Firm to Discuss Your Situation

If you have been involved in an accident due to the negligence of a hungover driver, we strongly recommend consulting an attorney to discuss your rights and potential legal options.

At Lynch Law Firm, PC, we are here to help. Our firm has decades of experience representing victims injured by the negligence of others. If we represent you, there are also no upfront costs to pay. Check out what others have said about the services we provided.

We are here to help you through this difficult time. Not sure if you have a case? Call to request a free case review. There is no obligation and no risk to you.

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