To anyone who’s had a few alcoholic drinks and then hit the dance floor, the following seems pretty obvious: alcohol can make you make stupid decisions. You become less inhibited, the music’s pumping, you’re suddenly more attractive, you’re busting those moves just like they do in the music videos … and then you find that wasn’t really the case when a mate uploads the whole thing to YouTube.
If all you’re doing is dancing like an idiot, chances are the only damage you’ve done is to your ego. But take those same few drinks and get into the driver’s seat, and suddenly the potential consequences are devastating.
In 2011, 12% of all fatalities on UK roads were caused by drink drivers, to say nothing of the serious injuries caused to bystanders, passengers, and the drivers themselves. A moment of impaired judgement in front of a camera is embarrassing, but if you are found to be over the limit while driving and convicted, you risk a fine of £5000, a minimum 12 month driving ban and up to 6 months in prison. You won’t have a clean license for 11 years. And you will have a criminal record which can wreck your future.
It’s a common misconception that there is a ‘drinks’ limit for driving. In fact, there’s a very rigorous limit of alcohol acceptable in your breath, urine, and blood, but that’s not the same thing as a drinks limit. Depending on factors like your body composition, age, sex, when and what you last ate and stress (yes, stress levels make a difference) one person could drink two glasses of wine and scrape through under the limit of 35 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milligrams of breath; another could drink only one and produce a breathalyser reading much higher than 35. The problem is the effect of the alcohol, not what you drank to get there – and the effect is very hard to determine before you’ve made the fateful decision to get behind the wheel.
Some drinks take longer to clear your system than others, so don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re OK to drive the morning after the night before because you feel fine – you may still be over the limit. Five cans of super strong lager can take almost a full day to metabolise, and no amount of coffee, cold showers or fresh air can speed it up.
Quite simply, if you have a drink, driving is not worth the risk – to your safety, the safety of others, and your future.