A question many people have is how much alcohol you are able to drink while still being allowed to drive.
Alcohol can severely impact a person’s ability to drive due to reaction and coordination skills being slowed, becoming drowsy or having blurry vision among other things.
Therefore it is safest to not drink at all if you know you need to drive, to remove any chance of problems.
New Highway Code rules 2022
Limits in the UK are different between countries, so here’s the information you’ll need on what is a safe level to be able to drink.
What is the drink drive limit in the UK?
The drink driving limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In Scotland this limit is reduced to 22 micrograms – so just one drink could get you over the limit.
There’s not an exact science on how many drinks you can have to stay under the limit, as due to a number of factors one pint of beer might be okay for some but too much for others.
On the Metropolitan Police website, it states: “There is no way to know how much you can drink and stay under the limit, since it can depend on your weight, age, metabolism, the amount of food you’ve eaten and other factors.”
The safest measure you can take is to not drink at all if you know that you will need to drive.
What are the unit levels for different alcoholic drinks?
Pint of lower-strength lager/beer/cider (568ml, ABV 3.6%) – 2 units
Pint of ordinary-strength lager/beer/cider (568ml, ABV 4%) – 2.3 units
Pint of higher-strength lager/beer/cider (568ml, ABV 5.2%) – 3 units
Bottle of lager/beer/cider (330ml, ABV 5%) – 1.7 units
Can of lager/beer/cider (500ml, ABV 5.5%) – 2.8 units
Small glass of wine (125ml, ABV 13%) – 1.6 units
Standard glass of wine (175ml, ABV 13%) – 2.3 units
Large glass of wine (250ml, ABV 13%) – 3.3 units
Alcopop (275ml, ABV 4.5%) – 1.5 units
Single shot of spirits (25ml, ABV 40%) – 1 unit
Double shot of spirits (50ml, ABV 40%) – 2 units
What happens if you get caught drink driving?
If you’re found guilty of drink-driving, you could face up to six months imprisonment, an unlimited fine, and a driving ban of at least one year.
Always nominate a designated driver and if in doubt, never drink or consume any alcohol products before driving.
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