Drink drive dangers: Don’t be a wedding crasher

Rachel Greene-Taylor
Written by: Rachel Greene-Taylor
Posted on: 9 July 2016

We’re all so focused on getting to the church on time, we often fail to plan our journey home. And after a Champagne reception, wine at the table and a free bar, most of us are on the dance floor well into the early hours.

Unfortunately, 10% of wedding guests are over the legal limit when they drive home. And, with July being a peak month for weddings, it’s also the second most popular month for breath tests (December holds the top spot).

Here’s how to avoid making it a day to remember for all the wrong reasons.

How much is too much to drink?

Our research revealed that the average wedding guest drinks 14.82 units of alcohol.

The Government recommends a weekly alcohol consumption of 14 units a week – which means the average wedding guest drinks a week’s worth of alcohol in one night.

Friends and family don’t get married every day, so a drink and a knees-up is expected - but driving home afterwards is not.

10% of wedding guests are over the legal limit when they decide to drive home

What’s the UK drink drive limit?

Driving limits are impossible to predict because they’re different for everyone.

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

How alcohol affects you depends on:

  • Your age, weight, sex and metabolism
  • What alcohol you’ve been drinking and how much
  • How much you’ve eaten
  • How stressed you’re feeling

Obviously it’s safest not to drink at all. But that’s not always feasible with toasts and bubbly flowing.

What’s more, people underestimate the number of units they drink at a wedding by 46%, with most guessing they only drink an average of 8.6 units. The problem is, after eight units everything that follows becomes a bit hazy!

For more accurate measurements, check out the drinkaware unit calculator.

Who are the main wedding crashers?

Millennials are the biggest culprits – 17% have admitted to driving home over the limit, compared to just 4% of those over 55.

Around 11% started out with good intentions, but ended up drinking and still drove home. Don’t give in to temptation; hand someone your keys if you can’t trust yourself.

Or follow the 3% who slept in their cars after an unplanned glass or five. A bad back has got to be preferable to a driving ban, a hefty fine or potentially something more sinister.

People underestimate the number of units they drink at a wedding by 46%

When is it safe to drive?

A good night’s sleep will leave you ready to drive home the next morning, right? No – probably not.

Research reveals it would take almost 15 hours to break down 14.8 units of alcohol – that’s about eight small glasses of wine, or just less than seven pints of beer. Obviously this varies from person to person.

So even if you feel as fresh as a daisy the next morning, and you’ve kept the hangover at bay, make sure 15 hours have passed. A hearty breakfast can work wonders but take public transport if necessary.

Don’t be a wedding crasher. Book a hotel room, arrange a cab or stay at a mate’s. If you're drunk and decide to sleep in your car, be aware that while it's safer to you and others, it's also an offence (better to just stay out of your vehicle altogether).

Getting behind the wheel, in any capacity, just isn’t worth the risk.

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