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How Long After Drinking Can I Drive (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 3 Hours To 4 Hours

It is quite known that driving when drunk is not just extremely dangerous but is also laid to be an illegal offense to perform in almost every country’s law. Driving a vehicle while drunk can lead to a warrant of paying a heavy fine or even imprisonment for a particular period.

Thus, it becomes the responsibility of every citizen to abide by the rules and regulations of her or her country and not drive after drinking. However, if you are drunk then it is quite an important question to be considered that how long after you have taken your last drink, you can drive.

How Long After Drinking Can I Drive?

Amount Of Alcohol ConsumedTime
A shot15 minutes to 30 minutes
A full glass1 hour to 2 hours
A complete bottle2 hours to 4 hours

On average, the nominal time to drive a vehicle after drinking for a normal person is about a minimum of 3 hours to a maximum of 4 hours.

However, many factors determine the time for how long after drinking can a person drive a vehicle such as, metabolism, age, amount of alcohol consumed, type of alcohol consumed, alcohol drinking history, and other such factors. Among all of these factors, the major factor that plays a vital role in determining the time for how long after drinking should a person drive a vehicle is the amount of alcohol consumed.

On a major basis, we can categorize the quantity of alcohol into three categories. The three categories are a shot of alcohol, a glass of alcohol, and a bottle of alcohol. Though it is quite obvious that if the amount of alcohol consumed is high then it might take longer for the body to digest the alcohol. 

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If a person has consumed only a small shot of alcohol then it would significantly take the least time among all. On average, it takes the body about a minimum of 15 minutes to a maximum of 30 minutes to digest alcohol.

Secondly, if a person has consumed about a glass full of alcohol then it would take a longer time to drive a vehicle after drinking as compared to drinking a shot of alcohol. On average, it takes about 1 hour to 2 hours for the body to digest the glass of alcohol.

Lastly, if the amount of alcohol consumed is about a complete bottle of alcohol then it would take the longest time for the body to digest the alcohol consumed. On average, it will take about a minimum of 2 hours to a maximum of 4 hours for a person to drive after consuming the alcohol.

Why Does It Take That Long To Drive After Drinking?

The time it takes to drive after consuming alcohol not just depends upon the amount of alcohol consumed. The type of alcohol consumed also plays a major role in determining the time. Every alcoholic beverage has different levels of alcohol in it. Some of the beverages might contain high levels of alcohol in them while the other type of alcoholic beverages might not contain that much level of alcohol. 

For example, fruit wines contain low levels of alcohol. On the other hand, alcoholic beverages such as beer contain high levels of alcohol. So if a person drinks a glass full of fruit wine might not get as drunk as a person who would drink about half a glass of beer. Thus, the alcohol levels of an alcoholic beverage should be considered for knowing the time one can drive a vehicle after consuming alcohol.

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For alcoholic beverages of higher alcohol content, it takes about 3 hours to 4 hours for a person to drive after being drunk. Whereas, it would take about 1 hour to 3 hours for drinks having lower alcohol content.

Moreover, if a person has a higher rate of metabolism they would digest the alcohol in a shorter period as compared to a person who has a slower rate of metabolism. 

Conclusion

Knowing the time for how long after drinking can a person drive is not just important to not get fined by the police or get imprisoned for breaking the law of not driving when drunk, but it is also important because knowing this time helps you know when you can drive safely with a reduced probability of getting into an accident on the road.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1054139X99001147
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022437501000627