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Is it safe to drive the morning after drinking?

Use our calculator to get a rough estimate of whether it’s unsafe for you to drive the morning after drinking

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This calculator is not designed to tell you how much you can drink before you drive. If you’re drinking, even if it’s just 1 drink, don’t drive and find another way to get home. This calculator can give you a rough estimate of whether you’re still over the limit and unsafe to drive the morning after drinking. You can find a reminder of the drink driving penalties in our drink-driving explainer.

Why have we made the drink driving calculator?

We created this calculator to highlight the length of time that alcohol can remain in your system and how this shouldn’t be underestimated. This calculator takes into account the units you’ve drunk, the time you stopped drinking and tells you whether you’re unsafe to drive. 

What our motor insurance expert says

“Our survey revealed that 28% of motorists had driven the morning after drinking and still might’ve been over the drink driving limit. Of those people, 35% said they judged their ability to drive based on how they felt that morning.

“That’s why we made this calculator, to educate people on the effects of alcohol so that people don’t underestimate its effects even after some sleep.

“But please remember that this calculator won’t help you if you’re arrested for drink-driving. It’s only an estimate to help you work out if it’s unsafe for you to drive the morning after drinking. But if you’re in any doubt, and we can’t emphasise this enough, don’t drive”

The UK drink driving limits are: 

Country Micrograms of alcohol per 100 ml breath Milligrammes of alcohol per 100 ml blood Milligrammes of alcohol per 100 ml urine
England, Wales and Northern Ireland

For blood alcohol content (BAC) you might see this written as 0.8 mg/ml for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 0.5 mg/ml for Scotland.

What happens if I’m caught drink-driving? 

The penalties for driving while drunk are severe:

  • You could get a driving ban of up to 12 months.
  • If you’re caught twice within 10 years, you could get a driving ban of 3 years.
  • You could also go to prison for 6 months and pay a fine of at least £2,500. 

If you refuse to provide a specimen to the police, you could get: 

  • A 6-month prison sentence
  • An unlimited fine
  • A driving ban

Our calculation

Enter a few details to see whether you're still over the limit and unsafe to drive after drinking

What is your birth sex?
Why do we ask this question?
What is your weight? Please select your preferred option
How much did you drink last night?
What time did you stop drinking?

How long does it take for alcohol to leave my system?

Medical studies suggest that on average, the body removes alcohol at the rate of about 1 unit per hour. This is an average though, so how your own body processes alcohol will differ.

But alcohol can show up in a blood test for 6 hours and on your breath for up to 24 hours. So even if you feel ok to drive, if the police pull you over then you could be prosecuted for drunk driving.

Our calculator uses an estimate of 1 hour per unit of alcohol consumed, plus an extra hour for the first drink to get into your system.

Remember, don’t drink alcohol and drive.

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