Sunday, 18 Nov 2018

Drink Driving: Knowing Your Limits

We all think that we know ourselves well, what we like to eat and drink, where we like to go out, and how we get home afterward. With UK drink driving laws being some of the most severe in Europe, it’s probably time though that we stopped thinking and started learning – what constitutes a unit, how many units in a pint, how many pints can I drink before driving home etc.

Simply believing that we are fit to drive after a drink or two, will not be well received by any Court following the bringing of drink driving charges, and most drink driving Solicitors will agree that a majority of their clients probably believed they felt okay to drive.

Being wrong though can be costly – in fact it is estimated that the financial cost of a conviction is between £20,000.00 and £50,000.00, together with a criminal records etc.

But let’s be positive, and look at information that will help stop us from making bad decisions and costly mistakes.

The Limit

It may surprise you to learn that although UK drink driving laws apply across the whole of the UK, Scotland has a limit about two-thirds of everywhere else – so technically you can cross the border and suddenly be at risk of conviction.


Alcohol is measured in units, such as a single shot or small glass of wine being 1 unit, an average pint of lager being roughly 2. Drinks are often now sold with their exact alcohol content clearly on the label. But there is a problem…


We are all different and alcohol affects us all differently too. Factors that can play a role include, gender, weight, size, metabolism, age, and whether you have been eating with the alcohol. Even stress levels play a role.

So as no two people are alike, the affects that the same drinks has on two people will be different. There is no hard and fast rule to consumption, and rather than try and drink up to the limit, it is better to stay well aware and under.


One hour after drinking, the body starts to process the alcohol, removing roughly 1 unit per hour. Think about it therefore, a late night with many drinks, an early start, and you’ll still be over the limit the morning after (and many are caught). A fry up, coffee, and sleep do not speed up the processing of units though individuals again will differ.

Drink driving charges will be brought for failing the breathalyser. There is no method to transforming consumption into test levels so never try to. Do not aim to get to the limit, stay well beneath the relevant levels (remember Scotland!), and if possible avoid driving after any drinking, even the next morning on occasions. The only rules that apply to alcohol limits are the ones that if broken will bring the costly and potentially life changing drink driving charges. So stay safe.