Alcohol myth-busters - Drive safely this Christmas

The party season is here, and it's time to enjoy the festivities.

However, road safety chiefs are calling on drivers across the UK to plan their journeys and ensure they celebrate the festive season safely.

GEM Motoring Assist insists alcohol impairs judgement, and driving after drinking even a small amount of alcohol raises every driver’s risk of being involved in a collision.

There were 260 deaths on Britain’s roads in 2021 where a driver was over the drink-drive limit – the highest since 2009. A further 6,740 people were injured.

Below, we take a look at some myths around the drink-drive limits in the UK.

I’ll be OK after a good night’s sleep

Not necessarily. Between 15 and 20% failed breath tests are from people who get behind the wheel the morning after drinking alcohol.

One drink means one ‘unit’ of alcohol

Wrong, so counting the glasses you’ve had at the pub, at a party or at home is not a reliable indicator of how much alcohol you have consumed.

Coffee will sober me up after a few drinks

Wrong. You may feel more alert, as coffee is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. But you’ll still have the same amount of alcohol in your system, however much coffee you drink.

Eating a heavy meal means I can’t get drunk

Wrong. Food doesn’t prevent alcohol from being absorbed… it can slow the process down, but you’ll still have the alcohol in your system.

I won’t be impaired until I’ve had a lot to drink

Wrong. Even small amounts will impair your judgement. Impairment starts with your very first drink.

I’ll see how I feel later before deciding whether to drive or not

Wrong: plan early how you’re going to get home. Decide where you can safely leave your car, book taxis, or agree that you’ll stay on soft drinks. We tend not to make our wisest decisions when we’re a little merry – or worse.

I can avoid court and go on a course if I get caught, as it would be a first offence

Wrong. There’s a mandatory 12-month ban, plus a hefty fine and a criminal record. Estimates show that a drink-drive conviction costs the average motorist nearly £50,000 when all the immediate costs and longer-term consequences are taken into account.

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