Whilst you should never put yourself or others at risk by drink-driving there may be times where you are over the alcohol limit without knowing.
For instance there are many misconceptions when it comes to alcohol and driving. You may believe that the one pint or one glass of wine you had the previous night to unwind won’t affect your driving the morning after, however your blood alcohol limit may still be over the legal limit.
Here we breakdown some common misconceptions drivers have when it comes to drink-driving.
“As long as I stick to two drinks, I’m safe to drive”
The truth is it’s not as crystal clear as that. Alcohol limits in England and Wales are set as 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, and 80 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood. However, it is impossible to say what that equates to in terms of how many drinks you can have, as it differs from person to person.
Whether you’re legally able to drive the next morning depends on a lot of different factors, including how much you drank and if you’ve left enough time for your body to get rid of the alcohol. The amount of alcohol in your bloodstream depends on various things such as, the amount you drank, over what period of time and the speed at which your body gets rid of it.
On average, alcohol is removed from the body at the rate of about one unit an hour. But this varies from person to person. It depends on your size, your gender, how much food you’ve eaten, the state of your liver and your metabolism.
“As long as I’m within the legal limit, I’m safe to drive”
Again, that’s not always the case. Alcohol affects different people in different ways. For some one drink may be okay, however for others one drink could leave them feeling light-headed. In short there’s no two people who can be compared to each other when it comes to drinking alcohol, even if you have only had one drink, you can still be over the limit.
“I can sleep it off”
The common myth around drivers believing they can somehow speed up the sobering process is an incredibly dangerous myth that gets thrown around.
No matter how many hours of sleep you had the night before, the alcohol will still be in your system and depending on how much you’ve had to drink, there’s a good chance it will still be in your system the next morning.
As a rough guide, it takes about an hour for your body to break down one unit of alcohol, so one large glass of average-strength wine (12%) at three units would take around three hours for your body would break down.
“Drinking coffee will sober you up”
Similar to the sleeping myth, this one is also a lie. Some people believe that a strong cup of coffee will wake you up and stop you from feeling hazy, but it doesn’t matter how many cups of coffee you have the alcohol will still be in your system and just like the sleeping myth, if you’re over the limit then you’ll still be over the limit. There is no way to speed up the sobering process.
“Eating a meal whilst drinking stops you getting drunk”
Unfortunately, eating won’t stop alcohol from getting into your bloodstream – it will just delay it, so it may actually take longer for the drink to pass through your system.
Plus, because of the trickle effect in which the alcohol is entering your body, you may feel as though you’ve consumed less alcohol than you actually have, which could put you at risk of believing you’re safe to drive, when you’re not.
“Drinking a spirit with a mixer will stop my alcohol levels from becoming too high”
Another myth that is incredibly wrong. A unit of alcohol, which is a single measure of most spirits, is still a unit of alcohol, whether you drink it straight or mix it with a pint of coke.
“If I pass the breathalyser test I can’t be prosecuted for drink-driving”
While the breathalyser may state that you’re not over the limit (if you have less than 35 micrograms of every alcohol for ever 100 millilitres of breath), if the police stop you for careless driving, then any level of reading of alcohol could cause them to charge you with being in charge of a vehicle while unfit to drive.
“If I’m caught just sitting in the driver’s seat, but not driving, I can’t be charged”
Even if the engine is off, if you are sitting in the car with the car keys, you can be prosecuted for being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit to drive.
A conviction could result in three months imprisonment, a fine of up to £2,500 or a possible driving ban.
“Even if I get caught, it’s only a few points on my licence”
A conviction for drink or drug driving can result in a minimum 12-month driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000, up to six months in prison, and a criminal record.
Anyone convicted of causing a death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs will face even more severe penalties – including up to 14 years in jail and an unlimited fine.
Where can I get cheap insurance with driving convictions?
Adrian Flux specialises in a variety of niche motoring markets, including insurance for drivers with motoring convictions. Unlike many of our competitors, we can offer competitive quotes despite a poor driving record.
We realise your past is not necessarily a guide to the future and in many cases if you have picked up a few points for driving convictions you will drive even more carefully to protect your licence.
As experts in finding cover for all types of specialist and unusual situations, our quotes department can arrange value for money, high quality insurance cover whatever your driving history.
Our best insurance deals are usually over the phone so call 0808 503 7511 for a sensible quote. Alternatively book a call back at a time that suits you.