The Brake Blog
News and views from around the road safety world, with contributions from partners, researchers and campaigners as well as Brake staff and volunteers. All views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily represent those of Brake or its employees.
Be drink-drive aware this Christmas
Christmas every year sees a spike in those who take an extra, needless risk, on our roads by driving after consuming alcohol. Whether it is driving home after having a few after work drinks or saving time and money in not getting a taxi or public transport after catching up with family and friends. Here, Jade Morand from miDrive, blogs on the dangers of drink-driving.
A special birthday celebration, an impromptu drink before heading home, a glass of wine with the Christmas meal: A small drink won’t hurt, will it? You’ve eaten enough to offset the alcohol. You only live around the corner. These are all reasons for drinking alcohol that, at face value, are harmless, but they are potentially fatal if you plan to get behind the wheel.
Despite the release of countless hard-hitting drink driving awareness campaigns over the years, one in eight road deaths involve a driver that is over the legal alcohol limit. That number equates to over 3,000 deaths and serious injuries each year.
miDrive is committed to promoting driver safety, and we are active supporters of Brake, the UK’s road safety charity. Christmas is the perfect opportunity for us to drive this critical safety message home once more.
Drinking and driving do not mix: FACT
The legal alcohol limit in England and Wales is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, in Scotland it is 50 milligrams. However, the maths doesn’t really matter if you consider that even a small amount of alcohol can impair your reactions and ability to drive safely.
- The effects of alcohol include:
- Slower reaction times when braking or manoeuvring
- Poor judgement of distance and speed
- Impaired field of vision
Unfortunately, there is no catch-all rule for how much alcohol you can consume before it starts to take effect. Different factors such as metabolism, weight, sex and how much you have eaten can all affect how the body deals with alcohol. The most sensible approach is to avoid alcohol altogether if you plan to drive.
Is it really worth the risk?
Research has shown that drink driving offences and casualties occur across a large number of age groups, but in particular young men between the ages of 17 and 29. In the UK every year, 3,000 people are killed or sustain serious injuries because of drink driving. Is that quick pint or glass of prosecco really worth the risk?
Don’t forget that you might still be over the limit the next morning. You might feel okay, albeit a bit jaded, but you may still be way over the legal alcohol limit and unfit to drive. It makes no difference when you had your last drink – if you are over the limit, you are over the limit and liable to lose your license. A cup of coffee, a bacon sandwich or a shower will not reduce your blood alcohol levels. You need to wait it out and most importantly, stay away from your car.
Be a smarter, safer driver
Drink driving, and the risks that go with it, is entirely avoidable if you plan ahead, avoid temptation and understand the law. Forget the “one won’t hurt” mentality. If you know you will be driving, avoiding alcohol altogether will eliminate the risk entirely. It really is that simple.
If you plan to park the car, have a drink and then return to your vehicle in the morning, make sure you do just that. Arrange a lift with a non-drinker or designated driver, or pre-book a taxi to ensure you get home safely and avoid the temptation of driving home yourself.
Make the Sober Pledge with miDrive and Brake
There are many things you can do to ensure you keep yourself and others safe on the road, whether you are still learning to drive or are an experienced driver. The Pledge from Brake is an initiative that encourages drivers to drive more responsibly and to do everything they can to protect themselves and those around them.
Avoiding drink driving is just one of the ways you can make a positive impact on safety statistics and help to keep the UK’s roads a safer place. Why not take The Pledge today to stay a safer driver?