The majority of motorists are sensible and law abiding. Most would not consider drinking and driving. Responsible motorists wanting to drink will arrange other means of transportation or enjoy a drink within a domestic environment.
But what happens after drinking alcohol?
Because alcohol is a depressant, it slows down the brain and affects the body’s responses. After one or two drinks you may start feeling more sociable; as you drink more, euphoria sets in leading you to overestimate your own abilities and behave recklessly. But drink too much and basic human functions, such as walking and talking become much harder. You might also start saying things you don’t mean and behaving out of character. In a domestic situation, this can cause tempers to flare and lead to a temptation to get into a motor vehicle to escape from the situation.
Once alcohol is consumed, time is the only way to get it out of your system. You could be over the legal limit many hours after your last drink, even if it's the 'morning after'. Sleep, coffee and cold showers don't help to sober you up.
Even after alcohol has left your bloodstream, the risk of accidents remains heightened. In one study, airline pilots performed routine tasks in a simulator:
Before drinking any alcohol, one in 10 could not perform all the tasks correctly
With a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 100mg%, nine out of 10 could not perform all the tasks correctly.
After 14 hours, when all the alcohol had left their system, two-thirds still could not perform all the tasks correctly.
The best advice is don’t drink and drive.
If you're planning to drink alcohol, plan how to get home without driving
Options include agreeing on a designated driver, saving a taxi number to your phone, or finding out about public transport routes and times before you go out.
If you drink alcohol at home
Unplanned events can lead to situations occurring either while drinking at home or after drinking, which leads to someone driving. Remember home measures are generally more generous than pub measures. There can be no excuse for drinking and driving. Don’t be tempted to drink and drive.
If you do drink alcohol
Do allow sufficient time after drinking before driving to allow the body to rid itself of ALL the alcohol.
Don't offer an alcoholic drink to someone you know is planning to drive
Even if you're not driving, you can help reduce the number of people who are killed and injured every year by drink driving.