Alcohol and Driving Don’t Mix

Thursday, 5 February 2015
In case you hadn’t realised yet, driving requires the person behind the wheel to be totally on the ball. It isn’t possible to be in this state if you are tired or under the influence of alcohol or a drug of some kind. 


Anything that alters your physical or mental state will affect your ability to control your car, end of story.


I think most people today understand the dangers of drink driving. However, this wasn’t always the case. It took a major campaign over more than a decade and strong police enforcement to turn the public’s view around and make drink driving a socially unacceptable thing. 


The danger with alcohol is that it relaxes you and makes it hard for you to concentrate on driving. It also slows down your reaction times and affects the overall perception of your environment.


None of this is good when you’re driving. Alcohol affects people differently so the number of drinks a person can have before they’re over the legal limit will vary.  


Some factors that will dictate how your body deals with alcohol include:

How much you weigh
Your fitness
Your gender
How healthy your liver is
How much alcohol you have consumed and over what time frame


The main thing to remember is that it will take time for your body to deal with the alcohol and return your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to normal. It takes the average liver an hour to process the alcohol in one standard drink. 


So it’s likely that if you’ve had a really big night you may still be over the limit the following morning. If you’re intending to drink then leave the car at home and take a cab or have a designated driver stay on soft drinks for the night. 


These days you can also pick up mini breathalysers that can help you assess whether you’re under the BAC limit but they may not be as accurate as the one the police use. Use them as a general guide only and if it shows you’re close to the limit, play it safe and assume you’re over. 


Another point is to remember that while .05 is the general BAC limit, there are certain licence levels that require a zero BAC level such as learner and provisional licence holders, heavy or commercial vehicle drivers. Check with your local transport department for the exact details. 


Put simply, drinking and driving just do not mix. If you are driving, it pays to avoid alcohol. The safest BAC level is Zero.


Drive Safely – Russell White 


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