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Drinking and Driving

Thinking you're OK to drive the morning after a heavy night on the booze is a mistake

Every year, drunk drivers are responsible for hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries on our roads.  Drinking and driving wrecks lives, not just of those who lose a loved one or friend or are seriously injured, but it can also have a catastrophic effect on every part of the driver’s life which will impact on their loved ones, family, friends and colleagues.  

Even a small amount of alcohol will affect your ability to drive. It creates a feeling of over confidence, makes judging distance and speed more difficult and slows your reactions so it takes longer to stop.

Your tolerance to alcohol depends on a combination of factors, such as your weight, age and gender. Stress levels and recent food consumption can also affect how your body reacts to alcohol. It can also be difficult to gauge exactly how many units are in each alcoholic drink that you’ve consumed (particularly if you have been pouring your own drinks at home). There simply is no safe way of knowing how much alcohol that you can drink and stay under the legal limit for drinking and driving.

It also takes a lot longer than most people think for alcohol to pass through the body (it takes the liver approximately one hour to process each unit of alcohol).  Sleep, coffee and cold showers don't help to sober you up. Time is the only way to get alcohol out of your system. So, if it’s been a heavy night, then you may still be over the legal limit many hours after your last drink even if it’s the ‘morning after’.
For example, if you drink four pints of strong lager or three 250 ml glasses of 15% wine, you can’t drive for at least 13 hours.  If you stop drinking at midnight you’re not safe until 1 pm the next day. 

The best way to remain safe is to not drink any alcohol if you are driving and not drink heavily if you have to drive the following morning.  Use the 'morning after calculator' to see how long it takes for alcohol to pass through the body and, if planning to drive the next morning, calculate the maximum you can drink and stay well under this.
If you are caught driving whilst over the limit, you will be processed like any other criminal, face a fine of up to £5,000, a minimum 12-month driving ban and a criminal record.  A conviction for drink-driving also means your car insurance costs will increase significantly and you may have trouble travelling to countries like the USA.  If you drive for work, your employer will see your conviction on your licence which could negatively impact your current and future job prospects.

By drinking and driving, you risk your life, those of your passengers and others on the road. This includes people going about everyday activities such as driving to work, doing the school run, or popping to the shops or to see friends.   It is not just the drivers who have been drinking who suffer, but often their passengers, people in other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists, and the families of everyone involved.