AAA: Don’t Drive Hungover!

As revelers prepare to ring in the New Year, many of them will visit with friends and families for New Year’s Eve parties.  In addition to the laughter and traditions, these parties will often be adorned with alcohol.

While reminding people to be wary of the dangers of driving after drinking this New Year’s, AAA East Central is bringing another issue to light: the dangers of driving with a hangover.

“It may not occur to many people, but driving hungover can be just as dangerous as driving after a few drinks,” said Theresa Podguski, AAA East Central Director of Legislative Affairs.  “After a night of drinking, many people will wake up with alcohol still in their blood.”

According to the AAA DUI Justice Link ( , a resource to help reduce impaired driving, the only thing that will sober somebody up is time.  In fact, it takes between 75-90 minutes or longer for the body to eliminate the alcohol contained in one standard-sized drink.  The figure below depicts a drinking scenario that demonstrates the actual rate of elimination.

“The bottom line is that it takes much longer for the body to eliminate alcohol than most people think,” continued Podguski.  “That is why it’s important to not only arrange safe transportation the night of a party, but also the morning after.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a hangover typically begin when your blood alcohol drops significantly and is at or near zero.  Those symptoms can prove to be dangerous to anybody behind the wheel, and can include:

· Fatigue and weakness
· Headaches and muscle aches
· Nausea, vomiting or stomach pain
· Poor or decreased sleep
· Increased sensitivity to light and sound
· Dizziness or a sense of the room spinning
· Shakiness
· Decreased ability to concentrate


“We don’t want anybody behind the wheel with any of these symptoms, regardless of whether they are recovering from a night of drinking or not,” continued Podguski.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 81 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.