Just about everyone has been there at some point: you spent the night partying at a friend’s place and decided to crash there. Now the sun is up, and you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus. You drink some water, maybe take some painkillers to dull your hangover, and prepare to drive home. Stop there, because driving hungover can be just as bad as driving drunk.

It may seem hard to believe, but there are several reasons driving the morning after having a few too many can be just as bad as driving in the hours after drinking them. These are a few of those reasons and what you can do to avoid getting on the wrong side of the law.

Sleeping off a few doesnt always cut it

According to a recent news release from AAA, partygoers need to pump their brakes after a wild night. “After a night of drinking, many people will wake up with alcohol still in their blood, or they will wake up tired and disoriented.” said Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs for AAA East central.

Podguski went on to say that it takes much longer for our bodies to process alcohol than most people realize. The adage that it takes an hour for your body to process a typical drink isn’t exactly accurate. The reality is that it can take between 30 and 90 minutes for a standard alcoholic beverage to be fully processed.

Depending on how much someone consumed and how long they slept, it is common for a reveler to wake up with alcohol still in their system – oftentimes while still over the legal limit.

Even when a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) has dropped back to 0.0%, hangover symptoms can still be very debilitating. Most people are familiar with these symptoms, they include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle ache
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Sensitivity to sound, light, smells
  • Dizziness
  • Poor concentration

A combination of these effects will greatly decrease a person’s driving ability. That means greater danger to oneself and others on the road, possibly being pulled over for suspected DUI or even an impaired driving charge.

Be smart after a night out

Everyone has heard they should have a sober cab if they are planning on drinking and heading home on the same night. The same can also be said for the morning after. If you wake up with a nasty hangover, take it easy for an extra few hours until the room stops spinning.

If symptoms are especially bad, take a cab or share a ride, catch a bus or train; just find a way to get yourself home without getting behind the wheel. Your car isn’t going anywhere without you.