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Drinking and driving: just don’t do it

Everyone knows that drinking and driving is both illegal and highly dangerous. Yet despite this, thousands of people are still caught and prosecuted every year in the UK. Worse than that, many lives are lost to accidents involving drivers who are over the limit.

So what are the limits and what are the consequences if you get caught?

The legal limits

In Britain, the maximum legal limit for driving is:

In many countries in Europe these limits are often far lower.

Many people think that it’s possible to find out how many units of alcohol you can drink before you go over the limit, but this is not the case. The way that alcohol affects you depends on how it is processed by your body and this varies according to your age, weight, gender, metabolic rate and when you last had something to eat.

A large glass of wine or a pint of strong lager that might be “ok” for one person may tip another over the limit, so it’s probably best to avoid drinking altogether to be certain of being safe.

Why drinking and driving don’t mix

Alcohol impairs your driving in many ways, making you less aware of the road around you, slower to react and particularly poor at judging speeds. Alcohol also makes it harder to concentrate and will make you feel more tired, reducing your performance across a range of essential skills.

Driving home the morning after the night before

It is worth noting that your body can only remove around one unit of alcohol from the blood per hour, so if you drink heavily until late at night, chances are you will still be over the limit the next the morning.

Alcohol is broken down by enzymes in the liver, and no amount of coffee or cold showers will speed up this process. Even if you feel more alert and sober afterwards, your blood alcohol level will still be the same and if you are stopped, you will still be over the limit.

The consequences of drinking and driving

Once you have a drink driving conviction, you will find it harder to get motor insurance and will pay substantially more for it when you do. You may also have difficulty gaining entry to countries such as the USA with a criminal conviction against your name.

Perhaps more importantly, however, is the fact that you will have to live with the consequences if you cause a fatal or crippling accident after drinking. You will always wonder whether you could have stopped quicker or reacted better had you been sober, and that thought will haunt you long after your ban or prison sentence has been served. That alone has to be reason enough to say no to drink driving.

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