Drinking and Driving - Know your limits

January 31, 2019

Drinking and Driving - Know your limits

We’ve all been there… battling with the decision as to whether it’s ok to have just one glass of wine or pint of beer on a night out, or after work, even though we need to drive home. The stark reality is that even one alcoholic drink could put you over the legal limit for drink driving, as the time it takes to absorb and eliminate alcohol from the body varies from person to person.

In this article, find out precisely what the law states about the alcohol limit for drivers, plus tips on how you can safely stay under the drink-drive limit.

What are the legal limits for drinking and driving?

The law in England and Wales states that drivers must adhere to an alcohol limit of:

  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.
  • 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath.
  • 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine.

The law differs in Scotland, in that the limit is lower at 50 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood (this reduced limit is the same in many other European countries).

These figures aren’t exactly easy to decipher, are they? They certainly don’t add up to a simple answer, such as one alcoholic drink, or two.

Why the alcohol limit varies from person to person

The way alcohol is absorbed and broken down in the body depends on several factors including:

  • Your tipple – the type of alcohol you drink and how many units it contains.
  • How fast you’re drinking – several alcoholic drinks in a short space of time will cause the alcohol to build up quickly in your system.
  • Food – what you’ve had to eat before drinking. If your stomach is full of food, the alcohol absorption process will be slowed down, and therefore the effects of alcohol will be lower, compared to if you drink on an empty stomach.
  • You – your sex, weight, age, and metabolism. If you’re of a slim build and tiny, alcohol will have a stronger effect on you, compared to someone who is larger. With that said, an overweight person will be affected by alcohol more than someone who is lean with little body fat.

Ultimately, because of these factors, there’s no safe amount of alcohol to drink if you intend to drive because even a small amount could send you over the limit, and in turn, affect your ability to drive.

How can alcohol affect you when driving?

Most people will be able to relate to the physical effects of alcohol – the way it makes you feel more relaxed and carefree, for example. Those that have experienced a few rough mornings will know of the more detrimental side effects of too much booze, such as vomiting, a headache, and blurred vision.

What actually happens to your body when you drink alcohol is that it takes longer for your brain to process information and receive messages from the eye. Your reaction times will be slower, and you won’t be as alert as usual.

When driving, you need to be fully alert, so you can anticipate potential hazards and react quickly to them if need be. Alcohol, even in small quantities, could affect your vision, concentration, and coordination, making you a danger on the road to both yourself and other people.

How to stay safely under the drink drive limit

The best way to avoid being over the limit is not to drink alcohol at all if you know you need to drive somewhere. The consequences of what can happen while driving over the alcohol limit are just not worth the risk.

Several penalties can be handed out by the police if you get caught drink-driving, including a ban from driving and even a prison sentence. But worse than that, the decision to drink and drive could result in you killing someone, should you have an accident.

Avoiding alcohol when on a night out with friends can prove tricky, especially if you like to let your hair down a little. Follow our tips below to keep you and those around you safe on the journey home:

  • Don’t be the designated driver – see if another friend is happy to drive if you think you’ll be tempted to drink.
  • Leave your vehicle at home – grab a cab, Uber, bus or the tube to and from your destination.
  • Get a friend to help – give them your car keys at the beginning of the night and tell them not to give them back to you until morning.
  • Drink non-alcoholic drinks – as well as soft drinks, there are various zero-alcohol cocktails and beers you could enjoy instead. You won’t get quite the same buzz, but many of these taste very similar to the real thing.

Drinking at home

More and more people are choosing to stay in for drinks, rather than going out. Not only is doing this cheaper than spending money in bars, restaurants and on transport, but it offers the freedom of being able to drink alcohol without worrying about driving anywhere.

Another benefit to drinking at home is that it’s generally more convenient, especially if you have to consider child-care or if you like to smoke when drinking.

If you decide to drink at home, make sure to buy your alcohol earlier in the day, while sober, and purchase enough of it. That way, you can avoid running out and won’t be tempted to hop in your car to drive to the local liquor store after drinking.

Alcohol Delivery in London

Better still, consider ordering your alcohol online from Drinks House 247. We’re able to deliver an extensive range of wines, beers, liquor, and champagne to most areas in central London, within 30 minutes! We can supply mixers, soft drinks, and cigarettes too.

Our service is ideal for if you’re having a late night party and have run out of alcohol, or you merely fancy kicking back at home with a few drinks. Give us a call on 0203 393 8809 or view our collection online now.