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Study: Driving With A Hangover Just As Bad As Driving Drunk

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A man lies in the street after a night out drinking.  (credit: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

A man lies in the street after a night out drinking. (credit: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – According to a recent study, a hangover following a night of heavy drinking can impair one’s driving performance just as bad as driving under the influence.

Researchers from universities in the U.K. and the Netherlands found that the effects of a night out drinking last longer than the measurable blood alcohol concentration.

Participants at the University of the West of England who went drinking the night before took a 20-minute simulation of driving in urban and rural settings.

The study found significant increases in speed, reaction times, errors, and deviation from driving position when the participants were hung-over.

“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,” associate professor Chris Alford, who led the study, told the Telegraph. “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.”

In a complementary study at Utrecht University, participants simulated a one-hour driving test the night after drinking an average of 10 drinks.

Those results showed a significant increase in lapses in attention and weaving when the participant was hung-over.

All tests were performed after the participants’ blood alcohol concentration was returned to zero.

The findings from both studies were presented at the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs 2013 Conference.

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