Risk of Death in Car Crash Doubles if You Had Little Alcohol


Drinking a glass of wine or a few beers at a friend’s party could be much more dangerous than we think. A new study showed that having just one or two drinks within six hours before driving increases the risk of a car accident.


Dr. Stefano Di Bartolomeo and his colleagues studied effects of alcohol and meal consumption in 326 drives who were admitted to the emergency room after a car crash. The researchers asked patients what they had been doing before the crash and then compared those activities to their previous cases of safe driving. Scientists factored in meal consumption because it may slow down the alcohol intake and make drivers sleepy.

Overall, drinking alcohol doubled the risk of a car accident, according to a report published in the journal Public Health. Having as little as one or two drinks within six hours before driving increased the risk of the accident 2.17-fold. Having more than three drinks tripled the risk. Also, people who didn’t get enough sleep – those who slept less than usual within 24 hours before a crash – were at doubled risk of being involved in a car crash within two hours after having a meal. For those who slept less and drank alcohol, the risk of a crash was three times higher.

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