Drivers may unknowingly be driving under the influence of alcohol this Christmas, new research finds.
A survey was conducted that presented a number of drunk driving scenarios to UK adults, from working parties to a glass of champagne with Christmas dinner, to gauge people’s understanding of the limits of alcohol and what actually constitutes a drinking and driving offense.
The answers to the search for Vanarama pointed out that millions of motorists could risk it on the roads after drinking during the holiday season.
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Did you know, for example, that just standing by your car when you exceed the limit can get you a hefty fine and jail time?
Or that you are 11 times more likely to die in a car accident if you exceed the legal limit?
The Vanarama study found that 28% of UK motorists are unaware that drinking a glass of champagne with their Christmas roast will cause them to exceed the alcohol limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
And 22% don’t know that drinking two small glasses of wine will cause you to exceed the alcohol limit.
And drivers could risk the day after a Christmas party. When asked if 12 hours was enough to stabilize your blood alcohol (BAC) level after eight cans of cider, one in six (17%) incorrectly said it was safe after that time.
The penalties for drunk driving are equally serious, as even standing next to or sitting in your stationary car while intoxicated can lead to a three-month jail term, up to £ 2,500. fine and a possible driving ban.
Driving or attempting to drive while impaired carries a six-month prison term, unlimited fines and a driving ban of at least one year.
Provoking death by reckless driving while intoxicated could result in 14 years in prison, unlimited fines and a minimum two-year ban.
Alcohol affects reaction times, coordination, vision and judgment.
According to the independent charity Drinkaware, even drivers with a blood alcohol level of less than 0.05% (about a pint and a bit of lager) are three times more likely to die in a car crash.
Those between 0.08 percent and 0.10 percent, which equates to just three or four pints, are 11 times more likely to die in an accident.
Although there has been a decline in recent years, an estimated 7,800 people were killed or injured in 2019 when at least one driver exceeded the limit, according to the latest statistics released by the Department of Transportation.
To help learn about the alcohol limit, Vanarama explained how long you should wait before driving after drinking these common alcoholic choices:
How long alcohol stays in your system
- A large glass of wine – 5 hours
- Cocktail sex on the beach – 4 hours
- Double vodka – 4 hours
- Pint of cider – 4 hours
- Long Island Iced Tea – 3.5 hours
- Pint of lager – 3.5 hours
- Pina colada – 3 hours
- A standard glass of champagne – 2.5 hours
- Single gin – 2.5 hours
Vanarama also shared the following tips:
For the avoidance of doubt, do not drive after a certain amount of alcohol. If you feel like you’re missing out, opt for non-alcoholic alternatives, such as mocktails and non-alcoholic beers.
Eating food before drinking can slow down your absorption of alcohol and help you better manage your blood alcohol level (BP). Even if you won’t be driving until the next day, it is recommended.
If you want to drink, stick to the drink-driving limit and drink a soft drink or a glass of water every two drinks or at regular intervals. All in all, you will still feel the happy high of alcohol, but you will not consume as much of it.
Give your body enough time to absorb the alcohol the next day before driving. Particularly after a strenuous session, seven or eight hours of sleep is unlikely to be enough to bring you back below the drink-driving limit.
Consider buying your own breathalyzer, for as little as £ 45 – a small cost to pay for complete peace of mind.
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