As the festive season gets into full swing, we all know we should go cold turkey on the mulled wine if we are driving. But the temptation to just have one for the road can be the devil on our shoulder as the champagne corks pop. Understandably, we all get swept along with the Christmas cheer!
But before you order another beer or round of shots when your car is parked outside, think about this. According to the DfT, an estimated 7,800 people were killed or injured when at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit in 2019.
We’ve all heard the drunk logic about why someone thinks they are fine to drive after one too many Mojitos or going over the top on Tequila. But does a strong coffee and a greasy kebab really negate all those Negronis? Will waiting two hours waiver the Wild Goose?
Here, we dispel the 5 most common myths about drink driving.
Myth 1: “As long as I only have two drinks, I’m safe to drive”
Total nonsense. Alcohol limits are set as 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, and 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood. However, it is impossible to say how many drinks that equates to so that you can drive safely. It differs greatly from person to person.
Similarly, adding mixers to shorts does not make them any less likely to get you inebriated. It just makes them last longer, taste weaker and lull you into a false sense of sobriety.
Myth 2: “If I wait one hour for every unit I drink, I’ll be fine to drive”
Old codswallop. On average, alcohol is removed from the body at the rate of about one unit an hour. But this varies from person to person. It depends on your size, gender, how much food you’ve eaten, the amount you drank over what period of time, the state of your liver and your metabolism and the speed at which your body gets rid of it.
Myth 3: “I’ll be fine to drive if I eat a decent meal while on a boozy do”
Deluded and dangerous. Eating a three-course meal or a quick burger just before you get behind the wheel won’t stop alcohol from getting into your bloodstream. It will simply take longer for the drink to pass through your system so you may feel sober as a judge but, in reality, you’re as drunk as a lord. This will put you at risk of believing you’re safe to drive when you’re far from it.
Myth 4: “It’s no problem, I’ll sleep it off in my car then drive home”
Utter rubbish. Even if your engine is turned off and you’re fast asleep, if you are in the car with the car keys, you can still be prosecuted for being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit to drive.You could end up witha fine of up to £2,500, a possible driving ban or eventhree months imprisonment.
Plus, the common myth that a good night’s sleep (whether in a car or a bed) can somehow speed up the sobering process is also naïve and dangerous.
No matter how many hours of sleep you get, the alcohol will still be in your system and depending on how much you’ve had to drink, there’s a good chance some will still be in your system the next morning making you unfit to drive.
Myth 5: “A strong coffee and a fry up will soon sober me up”
Poppycock. A strong cup of coffee and a greasy full English the day after the night before may seem like the road to sobriety but don’t be fooled.
It may help wake you up and stop that groggy feeling, but the alcohol will still be in your system and just like the ‘sleeping it off’ myth, if you’re over the limit then you’ll still be over the limit after a slap-up meal. It will take more than sausages and Starbucks to speed up the sobering process.
May your days be merry and sober
Around 85,000 people are convicted of drink driving related offences each year in England and Wales. The majority of those convicted are male (85%). Sobering statistics indeed.
The best gift you can give your friends, family, colleagues, other drivers and revellers is to drink and act responsibly. If you know you’re the type who can’t stop at one, then don’t start one. Or leave your car at home. Drink driving costs lives, whereas a taxi, bus or tram costs very little.
As the ad, the song and the slogan go ‘Think before you drink.’ It’s the only way to have a merry Christmas.