New study discovers hangovers can affect our ability to drive safely

Even after the alcohol has left our system, our ability to drive with a hangover can be risky

According to a new academic study, a driver’s attention and ability to drive safely is impaired with a hangover, despite the alcohol already having left the system.

The study found that hangovers can lead to a negative impact on our driving abilities.

Researchers from the University of Bath discovered after a meta-analysis of 11 existing academic studies that “the ability to control a vehicle, as measured by deviation from a set course, was impaired” after a night of “heavy drinking”, despite their being either little or no alcohol left in the subjects systems.

Even after the alcohol has left our system, our ability to drive with a hangover can be risky

New study discovers hangovers can affect our ability to drive safely.

Dr Sally Adams, the report’s senior author, said that hangovers do lead to “serious consequences for the performance of everyday activities such as driving.”

Lead author, Craig Gunn, added that hangovers led to “poorer concentration and focus, decreased memory and reduced reaction times.”

From one of the studies that was analysed, it was found that reaction times were nearly 20% slower in subjects who were hungover.

The researchers examined a total of 770 studies from academic databases looking for content such as ‘alcohol intoxication’ and ‘next day effects’.

Of these studies published over the past 40 years, only 11 were found to have enough data to be looked at in more detail.

To conclude, the researchers contemplated the fact that whilst many companies have policies in place to stop alcohol intoxication in the workplace, in some industries “employers might do well to consider revising guidelines on safety grounds.”

However, whilst taxi and haulage firms may prefer to establish anti-hangover clauses, some problem solving skills and ‘managerial decisions’ were found not to be marred by a previous night of heavy drinking.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the current drink-drive limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100ml of blood, however, this is much stricter in Scotland where they have just a 50mg limit.

According to the NHS, our body takes around three hours to break down the alcohol in a 250ml glass of wine and two hours to do the same with a normal strength pint of beer.

 

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