Do you Drink and Drive? Hopefully, you answered no… but do you?

Person drinking wine before getting to the car

Most responsible people would never drink and drive. But when we look at it more closely, do people mean they wouldn’t exceed the Drink Drive limit, or would they never allow a single drop of alcohol to pass their lips before getting behind the wheel?

The drink drive limit is different for England, Wales & Northern Ireland compared to Scotland.


Level of alcohol

England, Wales and Northern Ireland


Micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath
Milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood
Milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine

You’d be forgiven for being confused as to why ‘legally’ its deemed safer to drive around with more alcohol in your system one side of the Scottish border than the other. Also confusing for many people is ‘how many units of alcohol you can drink to stay under the Drink Drive limit’ – because many people don’t really know what a unit of alcohol is.

To clarify, one unit equals 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol, which is around the amount of alcohol the average adult can process in an hour.

This means that within an hour there should be, in theory, little or no alcohol left in the blood of an adult, although this will vary from person to person.

The number of units in a drink is based on the size of the drink, as well as its alcohol strength.

For example, a pint of strong lager contains 3 units of alcohol, whereas the same volume of low-strength lager has just over 2 units.

Now take this quick test.

If you started drinking at 7pm on a Sunday evening, you have two pints of strong lager and two large glasses of red/white/rosé wine (250ml, ABV 12%) and you finish drinking at 11pm, what time would you be totally free from alcohol?

  • 6am Monday
  • 8am Monday
  • 11am Monday

The way alcohol affects you depends on:

  • your weight, age, sex and metabolism (the rate your body uses energy)
  • the type and amount of alcohol you’re drinking
  • what you’ve eaten recently
  • your stress levels at the time

The only safe limit for driving is zero alcohol.

Drinking and Driving could cost you your license, your job, but worse than that it could cost a life. Yet many people in the above scenario would often get up and drive the next morning.

The answer to our quiz by the way is (C) 11am Monday.

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