If you’re on the road late in the evening or in the middle of the night, it’s only natural to worry that some of your fellow drivers might be under the influence of alcohol. However, “morning after” or “hungover” driving can be just as dangerous.
People who stay out late drinking and then get just a few hours of sleep before going to work or elsewhere the next morning may still have more than the legal amount of alcohol in their system. In Montana, bars can stay open until 2:00 a.m. Even if someone takes an Uber home, if they head out to work or the gym at 6:00 or 7:00 a.m., they may still be intoxicated.
On average, it takes five hours for a person who’s drunk to return to a blood alcohol content (BAC) that’s under the legal limit. They might feel better after a cup of coffee and a shower. However, their reflexes, senses and judgment can remain impaired.
Even if a person has no alcohol left in their bloodstream, driving with a hangover can be dangerous. Studies of volunteers who drank heavily the night before taking a simulated driving test with a zero BAC found that they had “reduced concentration and alertness” and made serious mistakes such as crossing over the centerline.
If you’re injured in a crash caused by a negligent or reckless driver, it’s possible that they were impaired by alcohol, even if they passed their Breathalyzer and other field sobriety tests with flying colors. You still have the right to seek the compensation you need and deserve to deal with medical bills, lost income and other financial issues that result from the crash.