WE were all there – the appointed driver wondered, “how safe will it be to drink a cheeky pint?”

The consequences of drunk driving can be ruining lives.


If you’re planning a drink today, you may want to know how long it actually takes for booze to go out

But what about the morning after a hard night – is it safe for you to get behind the wheel after sleep?

The government sets strictly limit driving in alcohol to prevent deaths while driving under the influence of alcohol, which annually in the UK there are about 7800.

Read on to find out if your drinking habits are safe …

How long does alcohol stay in your system?

Dr Paul Wallace, Drinkaware’s chief medical adviser, says: “The amount of alcohol in your blood depends on three things.

“The amount you take, over what period of time and the rate at which your body gets rid of it.”

Alcohol leaves your body at a rate of about one unit per hour – but it can vary from person to person.

Your size, gender, the condition of your liver, your metabolism, whether you are experiencing stress and how much you have eaten can all affect how quickly or slowly your body can process alcohol.

Is it possible to sleep from alcohol?

Many people believe that the effects of alcohol disappear when you sleep.

But sleep has nothing to do with the rate at which alcohol leaves the bloodstream.

Research by the Institute of Advanced Motorists shows that people don’t realize that just because they’re asleep doesn’t mean they’re no longer affected by alcohol.

It says, “Many drivers who haven’t thought about driving after a night in a pub don’t recognize the effects of alcohol on their body the next day or simply choose to ignore its effects.”

Can I drink coffee or water to speed up?

There is nothing you can do to speed up the release of alcohol from your system, says Drinkaware.

It states, “A cup of coffee or a cold shower will do nothing to get rid of alcohol. You may feel a little different, but you will by no means get rid of alcohol.

“The only way to get alcohol out of the body is to let time pass.”

Drinking coffee can help wake you up, and water will help you get better – both are good for a hangover.

But neither one nor the other changes the basic amount of alcohol in your body.

This also applies to the previous night. Drinking half a liter of water at bedtime can relieve a headache the next morning, but it won’t change the level of alcohol in your body.

What is the limit for driving while intoxicated in the UK?

Government guidelines state that in England, Wales and Northern Ireland the limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, 35 micrograms per 100 milliliters of breath or 107 milligrams per 100 milliliters of urine.

In Scotland, the limits are 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, 22 micrograms per 100 milliliters of inhalation or 67 milligrams per 100 milliliters of urine.

It is impossible to know how many milligrams of one unit of alcohol produce in your blood.

How much can I drink by law?

The government says it is “impossible” to say how many drinks are safe to avoid exceeding the limit, based on the fact that each organism is different.

Typically, two pints of a regular fortress camp or two small glasses of wine will exceed the limit.

But this is not a general rule.

As explained, factors such as your weight, gender, metabolism and how much you eat affect how your body processes alcohol, so everyone has different limits.

There is no reliable way to drink and stay below the limit.

Many people have a limit on one drink. But there is no way to prove too much or too little.

What if in the morning after drinking I need to get behind the wheel?

Drinkaware says that if you need to drive a car, it’s best not to drink the night before.

But if you’re drinking, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re safe behind the wheel.

Tips for drinking:

  • Drink single measures instead of double
  • Alternate alcoholic beverages with soft drinks or water
  • Choose drinks of smaller strength – the strength of different drinks can vary greatly, plan the brand you will drink to try to reduce alcohol consumption
  • Stop drinking early enough so that your body has time to process the booze by morning

Dr. Wallace says; “Imagine you drink until three or four o’clock in the morning and wake up at 8 o’clock. If you had six or seven units of alcohol, your body may still have a few units of alcohol when you start your day.”

There are available tools to calculate units in your favorite drink at Drinkaware.com.

It also has an app that you can download to keep track of your units at night.

If you really want to make sure you drive safely, you can use a home breathalyzer like the ones sold Alcosense before you hit the road.

How many units in an alcoholic beverage?

The number of units in an alcoholic beverage may vary depending on the strength of each individual brand.

But roughly, these are the units in popular drinks:

  • 175 ml glass of wine of medium strength (12%) = 2.1 units
  • 250 ml glass of wine of medium strength (12%) = 3 units
  • One measure of alcohol = 1 unit
  • Pint high camp strength, beer or cider (5.2%) = 3 units
  • Pint camp low strength, beer or cider (3.6%) = 2 units

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