Drink Driving

With recent high profile drink driving cases in the news it might be timely to discuss the risks and relevant laws.

How does alcohol affect your driving?

Alcohol slows reactions and even very low amounts of alcohol will impair the skills needed for safe driving. It slows down the brain, impacting upon your judgement, reason, self control and reaction times. Drivers feel a false sense of confidence, lose their inhibitions and are more likely to take risks. Evidence shows that drivers who have been drinking tend to focus more on the most basic activities, such as steering, and less on other key driving skills. This increases their risk of crashing.

Is everyone affected the same way?

No. How the body processes alcohol differs from person to person. It can depend on a number of factors:

Amount and type – how much alcohol has been taken how quickly

Age – younger people have lower alcohol tolerance coupled with a lack of driving experience

Weight/size – the smaller you are, the lower your blood volume is likely to be and alcohol may affect you more

Gender – women are typically smaller and have proportionately more body fat and less body water than men so drinking the same amount of alcohol is likely to result in a higher blood alcohol concentration

Water intake – dehydration leads to a higher concentration of alcohol in the blood

Food intake – alcohol is absorbed more slowly if there is food in the body

If you take drugs as well as alcohol your ability to drive safely will be affected even more, increasing further your risk of being involved in a collision.


The drink drive limit in Northern Ireland

There are strict alcohol limits for drivers. It is impossible to say exactly how many drinks this equals as it is different for each person.

The legal alcohol limit for drivers in Northern Ireland is:

35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath

80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood

107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine

The morning after

It is important to remember that you may be over the legal limit many hours after your last drink, even if you have slept all night.

Sleep, breakfast, coffee or a cold shower will not sober you up – only time will reduce the alcohol in your body.

Use the buttons below to be taken to our blog post on Driving the Morning after drinking and why you shouldn’t take the risk.

Also be sure to check out the online test to see if your drinking is putting your health at risk, use the link below!



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