Drunk driving is a practice that has been deemed universally unacceptable for decades. But, driving with a hangover still seems to have less of a stigma against it, even though research has shown that a hangover can be just as dangerous to drivers than getting behind the wheel immediately after imbibing.
Automotive giant Ford Motor is trying to raise awareness of the dangers of hungover driving by creating an experience that mirrors the effects of a hangover in order to demonstrate just how risky it is to drive the morning after a heavy drinking session. Ford has toured Europe with its “Hangover Suit” over the past two years, and the company recently brought the suit to the U.S., including a stop by the offices of Fortune magazine to demonstrate its effects. The tour coincided with last week’s Super Bowl, a day when Americans reportedly consume a total of 325 million gallons of beer each year before (in many cases) heading into work the following morning.
Stefanie Dunham, a Program Coordinator with Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program, told Fortune that the “Hangover Suit” is meant “to show what happens after a night of drinking and how it can be still dangerous to get behind the wheel.” The suit weighs roughly 37 pounds overall and it features a large, weighted vest, along with additional weights worn on the wrists, ankles, and head. The suit also includes goggles that increase the wearer’s sensitivity to light, and headphones that create “a throbbing sensation, so it’s like the blood pulsating through your ears.”
The point of wearing the suit is to show how a hangover can result in grogginess and slower reaction times, affecting drivers in a similar way to being drunk. To get an idea of those potential dangers, Fortune staffers—some wearing the suit, others not—faced off with each other to see if the suit made it more difficult to complete simple tasks like putting together a puzzle. The results? The “Hangover Suit” definitely seemed to slow down some of Fortune‘s finest puzzle-solvers, who described it as “wonky” and “distracting.”