Stay behind the wheel and not behind bars this Christmas

Drink-driving can carry a six-month prison sentence

Office parties and after-work drinks ensure that police are out in full force over the festive period. So, if you’re thinking of enjoying one or two drinks before getting behind the wheel, you may want to think again…

Know the limits

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the maximum amount of alcohol you can have in your system is 35 mcg in 100 millilitres of breath; whereas over in Scotland takes a stronger approach to drink driving with 22 mcg per 100ml of breath.

While units used to be an effective way of keeping your drinking in check, so many factors can impact the way your body processes alcohol, that it’s near-impossible to predict how drinking the same tipple can affect two different people.

A few of these factors are:

  • Weight
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Metabolism (the rate your body uses energy)
  • Levels of stress

The consequences

Drinking can affect your vision, reaction times and ability to drive, and anyone who decides to get behind the wheel after enjoying a couple of festive drinks, risks their life, the lives of their passengers and the lives of anyone that could potentially be involved in a collision.

At the very least, a minor collision or being stopped by police, could be enough to ruin Christmas for you and your family.

If you’re pulled over and give a positive reading on the roadside breathalyser, you could be facing:

  • A six-months jail term
  • An unlimited fine
  • A mandatory 12-month disqualification from driving, raised to three years if you’re convicted twice in 10 years


Finding an alternative way to get home is the only safe way to avoid the penalties and consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Pre-book a taxi if you know what time you need to get home, or arrange a lift from a loved one.

If there are a few of you, elect a designated driver who’s willing to stay off the hard stuff and make sure you all get home safely.

Depending on where you live, you could look to plan ahead and see what public transport is available, as there could be a late train or night bus that can get you home without worry.

Given the time of year, you’ll find many of your friends and family will have a Christmas party to attend. This is the ideal opportunity to arrange a lift-swap, ensuring you and your loved ones can enjoy the festivities without having to worry how you’ll get home.

Are you the designated driver this Christmas? Here’s our top tips to driving in winter weather.