Bethesda, Maryland – More people are likely to die in alcohol-related traffic crashes during Christmas and New Year’s, and drivers should be careful not to fall for myths about alcohol, warns the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Holiday revellers may not recognize that critical driving-related skills and decision-making abilities are diminished long before they show physical signs of intoxication. Many also believe they can drive safely once they have stopped drinking and had a cup of coffee, but alcohol continues to affect the brain and body long after the last drink has been downed. Alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream even after someone stops drinking, impairing judgement and coordination for hours. Driving abilities may even be impaired the next day, when any alcohol remaining in the system, or the effects of hangovers, contributes to feelings of sluggishness even though the person no longer feels drunk.

Many drivers believe that caffeine will sober them up, but while coffee may help with drowsiness, it does not alter the effects of alcohol on decision-making or coordination. There are no quick cures and only time will help.

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