Overeating then driving on Christmas could land you in trouble
Drivers are being urged to take a break between eating and getting behind the wheel during the festive period.
The reason for this is because of the ‘festive food lag’ which could see motorists suffer from some side effects as a result of overeating.
New research from Green Flag revealed that a staggering 87 per cent of Brits are set to experience these effects.
During the festive period motorists will be consuming significantly more calories, on average a whopping 60 per cent more on Christmas Day.
Over half of Brits (53 per cent) will driver after eating on Christmas Day as a result of overeating.
Adverse effects of overeating include feeling sluggish, being unable to control falling asleep and have slower reaction times.
Three quarters (75 per cent) admit to feeling tired after the meal, 70 per cent admit to feeling sluggish.
Over a third (37 per cent) of drivers report that they are unable to control falling asleep and a quarter (24 per cent) of drivers Brits said that they react more slowly to things after their Christmas feast.
Overeating can have a significant impact on reaction times on the roads.
Jenny Tschiesche, Nutritionist and BSc (Hons) Dip(ION) FdSc BANT, said: “People reporting desperate tiredness after their Christmas dinner isn’t surprising considering the amount of carbohydrates we’ll consume on Christmas Day. Similarly, the sluggishness people experience is caused because there’s a high salt content in our festive treats, and this makes our bodies retain water.
“What is surprising however is the danger drivers are putting themselves in. People must take care after consuming stodgy foods this Christmas, and there are some simple safety measures you can take on Christmas Day if you find yourself needing to drive.
“Just making sure you have enough water throughout the day will keep you hydrated and banish the sluggishness. Favouring non-starchy vegetables on your dinner plate is also going to help keep your energy levels up, in other words, eat your sprouts! Also think about the run up to Christmas. Make sure you get enough sleep before the big day, and don’t crash diet to prepare for a big meal.
“The most dangerous time to drive is three hours after eating. That’s because most of us have a metabolic rate of about three hours, so this is the point where we will feel the most tired.
Reaction times could be reduced and drivers could feel tired and sluggish
“The optimum time to wait after your Christmas dinner before driving is about five hours, when our bodies have digested the majority of the festive food.”
Candace Gerlach, head of marketing at Green Flag, commented: “As families and friends gather to celebrate the Christmas festivities, undoubtedly, food will be a central feature of the merriments. While drivers are well-informed of the dangers & effects of driving after consuming alcohol, this isn’t the case when it comes to over-eating.
“Our research shows that a massive nine in ten Brits experience a festive food lag after Christmas dinner, however, just a fraction of Brits are aware of the effects that this can have on driving, with over half of motorists willing to drive almost immediately afterwards.
“While food is a wonderful part of Christmas, we’re urging Brits to be conscious of their consumption and how it impacts their bodies. Drivers should have a break from eating, and let their food digest properly, before getting behind the wheel.
“The most important thing is that people have the most brilliant time over the Christmas period with friends and family. And remember Green Flag are 24/7. So if you do breakdown, one of our technicians will come and rescue you from your food coma no matter what time it is!”
The negative effects of drink driving are well publicised but overeating isn’t
Green Flag’s Common-Sense Tips For Driving Over Christmas:
1. Ensure you get enough sleep in the run-up to Christmas Day
2. Drink water throughout the day to keep hydrated and banish sluggishness
3. Eat non-starchy vegetables during your Christmas meal to help keep your energy levels up
4. Avoid driving wherever possible when you feel sluggish or sleepy
5. If you need to drive, wait five hours after your Christmas meal before driving
6. Share driving on long journeys wherever possible
7. Don’t drive unaccompanied after your Christmas meal
8. If you’re feeling tired, pull over
Green Flag’s Common-Sense Tips For Driving In Winter:
1. Check your speed and use gentle driver inputs – even if the roads have been gritted they’re likely to be slippery.
2. Give more warning than usual to other drivers – when turning, stopping or changing lane.
3. Keep plenty of distance between cars – you never know when you’ll hit an icy patch. If you pass the same landmarks as the car in front of you within three seconds, you’re following too closely.
4. Check whether your car has ABS anti-lock brakes. In the unlikely event that it doesn’t, pump the brake pedal slowly to prevent the wheels locking up and skidding.
5. Be extra-wary of black ice. It’s an invisible danger that can catch out even the most careful driver.
6. Approach corners at a steady speed, in as low a gear as possible. Don’t touch the clutch unless it’s absolutely necessary, steer smoothly and avoid braking on bends.
7. Make sure all passengers are wearing seat belts.
8. Ensure you’re familiar with your car’s ventilation system to prevent windows from steaming up. Air conditioning will keep windows free from mist and condensation.
Motorists are encouraged to have a rest in between eating and getting behind the wheel
Symptom drivers experience in a ‘Festive Food Lag’
- Tiredness – 75.2 per cent
- Sluggishness – 71.1 per cent
- Inability to control falling asleep – 37.1 per cent
- Reacting more slowly to things – 24.1 per cent
- Inability to concentrate – 14.2 per cent
- Unalert – 13.6 per cent
- Irritable – 10.9 per cent