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Driving at ChristmasBack

At Christmastime, being the designated driver for an evening out might not be the most appealing option, but there are many ways it could actually end up a better night than you think.

If you’ve drawn the short straw this month, take a look at some tips below from IAM RoadSmart.

Remember your limits

As the responsible designated driver, it’s best to have no alcohol at all, even one drink will affect the way you drive without you being aware of it. Below is a table of the current drink driving limits across the UK. Remember, it’s impossible to say exactly how many drinks this equals – it’s different for each person.

Level of alcohol England, Wales and Northern Ireland Scotland
Micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath 35 22
Milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood 80 50
Milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine 107 67


Choose your venue wisely

If you’re the driver, you should have the right to choose at least some of the drinking venues. Keep a look out for places offering free soft drinks on a buy one get free basis. You can visit this website: to see if any of your local pubs and bars are included.

Keep an eye out

As the driver, be aware of the volume of alcohol being consumed – the last thing you need is friends who have drunk too much and may prove to be out of control in the back of your car, or worse still ill. Having someone behave badly in a vehicle can be highly dangerous, so if your passengers are proving to be too much of a distraction, pull over and stop as soon as it is safe to do so.

Make some rules

At the start of the night, it is probably a good idea to agree a leaving time with your friends as well as asking them to cover the parking charges, although technically you may invalidate your insurance if you take any ‘petrol money’.

Book a taxi

If you change your mind during the evening and fancy a drink rather than driving home, pre-arrange a taxi or minibus to take you home instead. Book early and don’t leave it too late as cab companies are well known for getting completely booked up at Christmas time. Alternatively, check out any public transport options, especially if there is only one or two of you – it could work out cheaper than a cab.

The morning after

If you’ve been out drinking the night before, be cautious when considering driving your vehicle the following day.  As a rough guide it takes the body one hour to rid itself of one unit of alcohol (a strong pint of lager or 250ml glass of wine may contain three units each). And the clock starts from when you finish drinking, not when you start! If you can’t remember what you had you can always get a rough calculation from but it should only be used as a guide.

Posted by Leana Kell on 05/12/2018