By Ian Lewis
Experts are urging Christmas revellers to resist the temptation to get behind the wheel the morning after an alcohol-fuelled office party or night on the town.
The warning comes as new figures show that police are catching more "morning after" drink-drivers.
The police statistics, released by LV= and based on data from 22 of Britain's 45 police forces, show that the number arrested for driving while over the legal limit between 6am and 8am rose by almost four per cent last year compared to 2011.
And a survey of almost 1,700 drivers revealed that over the past two years three per cent had driven while over the legal limit the morning after they'd been drinking.
Drivers told to plan ahead
Almost half (46 per cent) underestimated or didn't know how long it takes for alcohol to leave the body, with 30 per cent of men and 19 per cent of women admitting they've driven at least once after drinking heavily the night before.
John O'Roarke, LV= managing director, said: "It's easy to assume that after a good night's sleep you will be sober enough to drive the next day but, depending on how many units you've had, you may not be fit to drive.
"The key to enjoying the festive season is to plan ahead and don't drive if you are not within the legal alcohol limits."
Of the motorists who admitted "morning after" drink driving, more than a third (37 per cent) said it was unavoidable.
'Not travelling far' a common excuse
Over a quarter (26 per cent) said they hadn't been travelling far and 19 per cent thinking they were okay to get behind the wheel.
More than one in 10 (13 per cent) told researchers they thought they were only slightly above the legal limit so it didn't matter, while seven per cent thought it was acceptable as they hadn't driven on a motorway.
The police figures show in total officers from the 22 forces arrested 363 people for drink-driving between 6am and 8am last year, compared to 350 in 2011.
The overall number of drink-drive offences fell by four cent last year, the figures show.