As the holidays approach and people’s spirits are lifted by the thought of taking time off work to spend with their friends and families during the summer months, it is important to stop and think about your plans for the social calendar that lays ahead and make sure you take steps to avoid finding yourself in a position of drinking and driving. This article seeks to remind us of the disastrous effects of drinking and driving, how to drink and stay within the legal limits, and what the penalties of being caught driving while over the legal limit of alcohol are.
So what are we legally allowed to drink and still be ‘safe’ to drive? Current law states that we should not consume more than 80mg of alcohol for every 100ml of blood in our body. In real terms, this roughly equates to one large glass of wine for women (equivalent to 3 units of alcohol) and 2 pints of lager for men (equivalent to 4 units of alcohol). However, these guidelines should be treated with caution as the amount of time it takes for alcohol to be released from the bloodstream varies from person to person depending on factors such as their age, height, weight and build. The only way you can guarantee that you are not going to fall foul of the legal driving limits is by abstaining from alcohol altogether if you are planning to drive.
The effect of alcohol on our ability to drive can be extremely significant and, as we are all aware, the results can often be catastrophic. Even one glass of wine can affect our ability to make snap decisions which may avoid a collision. In addition, alcohol effects our reaction times (meaning our ability to brake in time to avoid a collision may be impaired) and our co-ordination and vision can also be effected. People that have had even a small amount of alcohol before getting behind the wheel are more likely to take unnecessary risks which may result in a collision.
If you are caught driving whilst over the legal limit of alcohol you can expect to receive a punishment which is severe. You are likely to have your licence taken away for at least 12 months, you may face a fine of up to £5000, you may face a prison sentence of up to 6 months and your insurance premiums are likely to increase.
The best approach to staying safe this summer is to plan, plan, plan. Make sure you either designate a driver within your group of friends who will agree to drink soft drinks all evening, or alternatively book a taxi in advance so that you do not have to make a decision about how to get home at the end of the evening. Too many people in the UK are still having their lives devastated by drink drivers – make sure you to your bit to reduce the risk of people being harmed or even killed in this way.