Hangovers 'increase accident risk'

Hangovers 'increase accident risk'

The dangers of driving while hungover should be worked into road safety campaigns, according to scientists.

A research team from universities in the UK and Holland found that driving with a hangover can impair a motorist's performance behind the wheel as much as the real-time effects of alcohol.

This means that driving a car after a heavy night on the booze poses a very real risk to other car users and pedestrians.

The effects of drinking last longer than a measurable blood alcohol concentration according to the scientists, who say it is impossible for people to not suffer from hangovers.

During a test at the University of the West of England, people who had been drinking alcohol the previous night took part in a 20-minute driving simulator, involving a variety of urban and rural settings. The researchers found that when participants were hungover, reaction time, errors and deviation from driving position all increased, as did speed variability.

Associate Professor Chris Alford, who led the Bristol-based study, said: "This was a naturalistic design of study, aiming to better reflect what happens in real life when people go to work the next day after drinking.

"The significant impairments seen here, after a relatively short driving duration reflecting a typical commute to work and using a more mentally demanding driving environment, represent a new finding.

"This simulation represented a situation many people can relate to. They may already be aware of not driving home after a night out drinking, but we also need to advise them to plan for the next day so they won't be driving to work impaired."

Copyright Press Association 2013