Drinking and driving is a bad combination. Alcohol impacts your attention levels, and your ability to make rational decisions and control your vehicle properly.

UK legal limits

35 micrograms of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood

80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath

107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine

The legal limit in most European countries is 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

New laws in Scotland came into force a few years ago and Scotland’s drink-drive limit is now lower than anywhere else in the UK. The change reduces the legal alcohol limit from 80 milligrams to 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, 22 micrograms of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of breath.

How much can I drink and still drive?

It is always best not to drink any alcohol at all before you drive as, even though you might feel ok, alcohol reduces reaction times and the ability to make quick and sound decisions – all of which are essential for driving.

As a guide, men should consume no more than four units, and women no more than three units, but this varies person to person. Know how alcohol affects you as some people are affected more quickly.

Can I drive the morning after?

When drinking the night before driving, men should consume no more than 10 units and women no more than 7 units. This assumes that no alcohol is consumed after 11:30pm and you don’t drive before 8:00am the following morning. 

Be aware that you could still be over the legal limit even though you have followed this advice, so if in doubt, jump on a bus or train or catch a lift with a friend.

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) varies from person to person. A person’s BAC depends on factors such as their gender and their weight. The concentration of alcohol in the blood continues to rise even after drinking has stopped because alcohol in the stomach continues to enter the blood stream. The only thing that lowers the BAC is time. Coffee and a cold shower may make you feel a bit more alert but it won’t lower the BAC or make it safe and legal to drive.

Alcohol affects people in different ways:

  • Slowed eye movement
  • Changes in what you see and your reaction time
  • Difficulty with steering accurately
  • Difficulty processing information

The maximum penalties for drink driving are:

  • Three months imprisonment
  • Up to £2500 fine
  • A possible driving ban

Maximum penalties for driving or attempting to drive whilst unfit through drink are:

  • Six months imprisonment
  • An unlimited fine for a driving ban for at least one year – three years if convicted twice in 10 years

This is just some of the advice Get Into Driving has to offer