Drink Driving Advice
The Great British Summer is surely almost upon us and for many that means party season. Between now and late August the social calendar is dominated by festivals, parades and general excuses to go out and enjoy a drink.
This period is also the busiest time of year for motoring lawyers as it often sees a significant rise in motorists charged with drink driving. Typically, police constabularies across the country will launch fresh campaigns to stop those who have indulged too much before driving and we will no doubt see new advertisements on TV in respect of such campaigns for drink and drug drivers, particularly with the new Drug Driving offence coming into force earlier this year.
Whether you’re attending Glastonbury, Leeds, any of the various Mardi Gras over the coming months or simply enjoying a beer garden in the sun, Olliers want to help you and your friends stay safe. With the emergence of apps like @Liftshare with festival goers sharing costs, fuel and being kind to the environment it’s even more important to be mindful of safer driving.
With this in mind, here are our top tips for summer drinking sessions!
1. Have a designated driver!
If you are part of a group then for each occasion the best thing you can do is nominate a driver who simply does not drink any alcohol at all. This person should be responsible for helping each of you get home safely without the temptation to drive yourself once your judgement is impaired through alcohol. Sure it sucks being the driver but the Summer is long and there are bound to be plenty of opportunities for the designated driver to rotate between the group.
2. Don’t Assume You’re Good to Drive
One of the most frequent things we hear as motor law specialists is that people have had one or two pints or maybe a glass of wine and assumed that they are OK to drive their vehicle. So many people are confident that they know their own limits and each individual is different when it comes to alcohol tolerance and how intoxicated you feel will be determined by your age, height, weight and sex to name but a few factors. Some people may be more easily affected by it than others and your tolerance does not reflect your actual alcohol level of intoxication. If you and a friend both drink 5 pints of lager with only one of you ending up stumbling over drunk, this simply does not mean that the other guy is safe to drive. The same level of alcohol is in your system so even if you feel good to drive the safest thing to do is just not risk it.
3. Plan Ahead
I think it’s safe to say we’ve all found ourselves confronted with a fabulously sunny afternoon which came out of nowhere and have wanted to take full advantage of the nice weather. All of a sudden there are plans for BBQ’s being made or trips to a country beer garden or hitting the town on the spur of the moment. It is usually last-minute plans that unfortunately end up being ill conceived as we tend not to plan ahead. If you are ever making last minute decisions on how to spend your day, think ahead and consider where the day/evening is going to take you. Are you staying within walking distance to your home? Is public transport available? Do you have enough money to get home from wherever you might end up without the need to drive? If you plan ahead you are much less likely to find yourself stuck and be tempted to hop into your car
We often speak to motorists who have gone out after work to enjoy a drink in the afternoon sun. Everyone starts with the best intentions of only having one drink and then going home but once alcohol is in play poor choices are often made. One drink becomes two, which then becomes three. But three is OK because you can get the train home. Three becomes four and you have missed the last train but there’s always a taxi. Suddenly you realise you have consumed drinks you have already forgotten about, your funds are exhausted and it’s time to go home but you cannot be bothered to walk to a cash machine (one of the poor choices we mentioned!) so you end up driving. Whenever you decide to go for a drink after work, if you end up staying longer than intended make sure that you funds that are easily accessible so you can get home. Put some aside in a different part of your wallet/purse or in a different pocket so you know that if you need to chip into that money it’s time to go home! If you pay for things on a card…..make sure you have cash for a taxi.
Motorists who are stopped for drink driving very rarely realise that they are over the limit. There are also those that know they are over, but decide to risk the journey home because it’s so nearby or they assume they wont get stopped.
Even if police don’t pull you over, driving after consuming alcohol makes you a significant danger on the roads.
Nobody ever expects to be in a crash
5. Eat well and Stay Hydrated
Drinking on an empty stomach is a sure-fire way to end up drunk a lot sooner than usual and the sooner you end up drunk, the sooner your judgement is impaired. Make sure you eat well before starting to drink. Food in your stomach will slow the rate at which your body absorbs the alcohol so it will take longer to hit you. This all means that you are of sounder mind for a longer period of time. A full stomach often makes people drink less overall as well so it is always beneficial to eat before consuming alcohol.
In addition to food, make sure you stay hydrated. Alternating your drinks between alcoholic and water will not only mean you drink less overall and end up less intoxicated, but it will also massively help any hangover you may have faced the following day. And let’s be honest, no one enjoys a hangover!
Summer is one of the best times of year for us Brits as we finally get some warm weather and by all means go out and enjoy it to its fullest! Hopefully however if you keep in mind our tips, you will be able to do so safely!
This post was written by Neil Sargeant who has specialised in Motoring Law for over 8 years.