Christmas parties and drink driving

Yet again it is that time of year as we approach the beginning of December and the start of the Christmas party season.  As we start to unwind from work and increase our socialising, the work Christmas parties commence.  Christmas is a time to eat, drink and be merry.  However, as the number of arrests for drink driving increases over the festive season, it is also a time for police forces to significantly increase resources and campaign against driving.  Most police forces have an annual Christmas “none for the road” campaign and extra officers are generally made available to breathalyse those motorists who are suspected of driving after having one too many drinks.

Olliers motoring solicitors want to help you, your family and friends stay safe this Christmas and here our top tips for travelling over the festive season.

Make sure you eat before going on a night out

If you are going to be drinking alcohol please make sure you eat.  Drinking on an empty stomach is a guaranteed way to end up more drunk than you would want to be.  Food slows the rate at which alcohol is absorped by the body and also a full stomach can often ensure individuals drink less overall.  Accordingly it is always beneficial to eat before consuming any alcohol.

Pace your drinking

As well as eating it is important to make sure you stay hydrated.  We often advise to alternate your drinks between soft drinks and alcoholic drinks.  This will mean that not only will you drink less overall and end up less drunk, but it should also mean that you feel better the next day and have less of a hangover.  Nobody wants to be suffering from hangover symptoms over the festive season.

Don’t assume you are under the drink driving limit

We receive numerous enquiries from potential clients who say they have had one or two pints or may be a large glass of wine and therefore assumed they will be fine to drive.  Individuals are different as to how their body tolerates alcohol and factors such as age, weight, height and sex can all affect the rate at which your body metabolises the alcohol. Some people may be less affected than others by alcohol and your actual alcohol tolerance does not necessarily reflect the amount of alcohol in your breath or blood.

Even if you feel that you should be capable of driving.  This does not mean you will be under the legal limit for driving.  The police will not let you off drink driving even if they feel you are still capable of driving if in fact you are over the legal limit on the breathalyser.  The only safe amount of alcohol to drink before driving is none.

Have a plan to get home

We often receive enquiries from clients who did not intend to drive home and therefore consumed alcohol.  However their plans changed at short notice or they did not have a proper plan in place to get home and then made the mistake (often under the effects of alcohol) of getting into their car and driving home.  We always advise considering the following before going to any festive parties.

  • Is your party within walking distance of your home address?
  • Is it safe to walk home?
  • Is your route well lit?
  • Is public transport available?
  • Check the times and any changes to regular routes over the festive period
  • Do you have sufficient cash for a taxi?
  • Should you pre-book a taxi?
  • How are all your family and friends getting home?
  • Could you stay at a family member or friends house so that you can all go home safely together?
  • Do you have a designated driver who will ensure you get home safely?
  • Is your car being left in a secure location if you are not driving it home?

If you prepare and plan ahead you are far less likely to find yourself in a sticky situation and make the decision to get into your vehicle after consuming alcohol.

Don’t assume you are safe to drive the morning after drinking

As referred to above everybody deals with alcohol differently and their body processes alcohol at different timescales.  It is often impossible to say when you will be safe to drive the next day and we would never advise driving the morning after drinking.  It is often a good opportunity to enjoy a lazy day after your office Christmas party and watch Christmas films on the sofa with lots of snacks.

At Olliers motorlaw we want you to enjoy yourselves and enjoy the Christmas season. We would like to wish all our past and current clients a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Contact our motoring solicitors

For further advice contact our special motoring lawyers. We are open throughout the festive period and will be happy to discuss your case.

196 Deansate, Manchester, M3 3WF
0808 168 0017
42 Marble Arch, London
020 3883 6792

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