The dangers of drinking and driving

It’s a well-known fact that driving whilst intoxicated is extremely dangerous not only to yourself but to others around you…in fact, despite the fact that drink driving in Britain has substantially decreased over the years, around 250 people die in crashes each year due to someone being over the drink driving limit – and it might not even be their fault! Yet people still continue to drink and drive all over the UK. The worst and most frightening prospect about all of this, is that every single death and injury caused by drink driving is completely preventable.

Technically, there is no way that you can calculate how much alcohol you can drink in order to stay below the limit, as it depends on a variety of factors including age, weight, sex and metabolism, as well as the type of alcohol you’re drinking and how much you’ve eaten recently…even your stress levels can have an effect. So really, it’s better just to be on the safe side and not drink any alcohol at all. If you are caught driving above the limit, you will be arrested. The police will then carry out a breathalyser test. If you are caught drink driving, you can be banned from the roads for twelve months and fined up to around £5,000 – a huge price to pay for one reckless mistake!

Drinking actually affects a person’s driving ability much more than they probably realise. It can affect a person’s entire coordination – the brain will take longer to receive messages from the eyes (which may be experiencing blurred or double vision) and processing the information will be more difficult than for a sober person. It will also take a drinker longer to react, making accidents much more likely. So why not just book a taxi for one night, or ask a sober friend to drive you home safely?

So how soon after drinking is it safe to drive? Well, that depends entirely on how much you’ve consumed, and how long it has been since you consumed it. Just because you’ve been to sleep for a few hours, it doesn’t automatically mean that you can just get up and start driving the next morning -you could still be over the legal limit.
As a general rule, one unit of alcohol is removed from the body each hour. This is of course, only a general rule, and varies from person to person. There is nothing that can be done to speed up this process, but if your liver is damaged or isn’t working properly, it may take even longer.

Just remember – driving while intoxicated kills. These are real people out on the road, with families and fully functioning lives of their own. Do you really want to put them in danger as well as yourself? So next time, instead of clambering behind the wheel drunk after a big night out, ask a sober friend if they wouldn’t mind giving you a lift, or get a taxi. It might seem expensive, but if you look at the damage you could do sitting behind that wheel, it’s not a big price to pay. Likewise, if one of your friends has had too much to drink, do the right thing – take away their keys and call a taxi – they’ll thank you for it later!