Know your limits this Christmas
December 14, 2017 at 10:08 AM
The Christmas and New Year party season is well and truly upon us, and most of us will want to make sure that our hangover doesn’t involve a lost licence and possibly a lost job by keeping within the drink drive limit. The first thing is to know what the legal drink drive limit is.
Penalties don’t stop at a one year ban
Currently, the legal drink drive limit that is used when you are breathalysed is 35 micrograms of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of breath. For blood, it’s 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood.
If you’re over the drink drive limit you’ll get an automatic one year ban – and if you’ve had a similar conviction in the past ten years, that becomes a three-year ban. You could also get an unlimited fine and six months' imprisonment. Remember too, that when your ban finishes, getting car insurance will become far more difficult and expensive.
Your tolerance may be lower than you think
People vary widely in how their body processes alcohol. Age, weight, gender, food intake and stress levels can all have an effect. So you may hear that you can drink two units of alcohol (equivalent to a pint of beer or a standard glass of wine) but that may not necessarily be correct. For example, women have more hydrogenase than men, and this enzyme breaks down alcohol, so women get a higher blood alcohol level more quickly than men drinking the same amount of alcohol.
Gallons of prosecco will be drunk at Christmas parties this year - it’s a light and bubbly drink, that tastes innocuous and people often have no idea how many units their glass contains. However, some proseccos come in at 12% - the same as many red wines. And no matter how many units you drink, the bubbles in both Prosecco and champagne, help move the alcohol from your stomach to your blood more quickly.
Take the luxury option instead
So what should you do? Obvious answers include ditching the car keys in favour of public transport, taxis, shared minibuses and designated drivers. But far and away the most enjoyable answer is getting a hotel room and staying overnight. You can park the car, check in to your room, have a leisurely bath or shower, get changed in comfort and then saunter down to the party venue. The next morning, you can banish your hangover with a full English, that you didn’t have to cook.
Don’t get on the road too early
However, you could still be over the limit early the next morning and over the holiday, you’ll find random police checks operating at times such as 7am to 10am. You’ll be asked if you had anything at all to drink the night before, and if you answer yes - prepare to be breathalysed.
So – much sure you get enough rest after a big night out, then take the time for a leisurely stroll and a coffee before you hit the road next day.
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