I Had Too Many Drinks. When Can I Drive with My Ignition Interlock?

Ignition interlock and a hangoverSometimes, that “hangover” feeling after a night of drinking is more than dehydration and sickness from having too much fun. While nobody really can pinpoint what causes a hangover, there are those mornings when it isn’t even a hangover that has you so demotivated: you could still be intoxicated. This, for many reasons, can be a problem. Maybe you have to get to work or you have another important appointment… and standing in the way of your “hangover” and your destination is your ignition interlock device.

Uh oh. What happens if you really are still a little “buzzed” when you need to submit a BAC sample? What will your ignition interlock say? Can you have a do-over, a mulligan?

First, do some math. You may be only hungover. For each beverage you drank last night, give yourself about an hour to metabolize it. So, if you had four drinks between midnight and 2AM, plus a couple before then, and you’re up at 6AM and ready to go, you could still have a BAC high enough to set off your ignition interlock device.  If you stopped drinking at midnight, however, you are very likely okay to drive.

The good news is that while your ignition interlock device may lock you out from driving your vehicle, initially, you will still have more chances to prove your sobriety. That means that if you register a BAC too high for your device, you may just need to rinse out your mouth and blow again. Or, if you feel you may be too close to the limit, you have the chance to wait as long as it takes to be sober before testing again.

Your hangover could be telling you to get some more rest and hydrate, or, that you are still too drunk to drive. Either way, your ignition interlock ends up telling you when you are safe to drive, keeping you from repeating another DUI mistake that could result in a much worse outcome than just a fuzzy head and dry mouth.


  1. I agree that if your interlock system says that you are too buzzed to drive that you shouldn’t. It is better to miss an hour or two of work than to miss a couple of days while your in court with your lawyer. The real solution is probably to just stop drinking early enough that you don’t have to worry about more than a headache.

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