Driving Advice for the Festive Season

Stay Safe This Christmas with our Top Tips!

With Christmas just around the corner, people are enjoying their work’s Christmas party and the nation is gearing up for a season of festivities! Christmas markets have materialised almost overnight and you can’t walk more than a few steps down the road without seeing signs for festive drinks like mulled wines and ciders.

The festivities are a time when we as a nation consume alcohol more regularly. Without having to work every day or there being more excuses to go out and have a drink, the temptation to indulge is stronger than ever.

As motor law specialists, we deal with similar enquiries every single year from motorists who have been charged with drink driving after a Christmas party or even the day after the event. With this in mind, we want to give you our best tips to enjoy the festivities whilst staying safe and avoiding the cold floor of a police cell. But before that, let’s remind ourselves of the legal limits.

Legal Alcohol Limits

There are three ways the police gauge your level of intoxication and the law has defined set limits for each type of sample they take which are as follows:

The legal limits are confirmed in section 11 of the Road Traffic Act as follows:

  • 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 ml of breath
  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 ml of blood
  • 107 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 ml of urine

µg = microgrammes

So How Much Can I Drink and Still be Safe to Drive?

With no many different drinks and glass sizes, from shots to pints – not to mention bottles – it’s hard to keep track of exactly how many units you are consuming and whether that would place you above the limit.

This quick guide can help you determine what your favourite beer or wine contain:


Size3.8 % ABV Lager5.2% ABV lager
Half pint (284mls)1.1 units1.5 units
1 can (440 mls)1.7 units2.3 units
1 pint (568 mls)2.2 units3 units
1 bottle (660 mls)2.5 units3.4 units



Size11% ABV wine14% ABV wine
125 ml glass1.4 units1.8 units
175 ml glass1.9 units2.4 units
250 ml glass2.8 units3.5 units
1 bottle (750 mls)8.2 units10.5 units


Other Drinks

25 ml of spirits (Average ABV 40%)1 unit
Alcopop1.5 units
330 ml bottle of beer1.7 units
*Gin, rum, vodka, whisky, tequila, sambuca. Large (35ml) single measures of spirits are 1.4 units.

Tips for Driving Over the Christmas Period

  1. Plan Ahead

This cannot be stressed enough when there’s even a possibility that you may be drinking whilst having the car to consider. If you know you are drinking at a time, your vehicle is around (i.e. if you’ve driven to work but will be drinking afterwards), plan a route home whether it be by public transport or taxi. You should also plan where you can leave your car securely for the evening. Many enquiries we received are from people who started to move the car to a safe place but then thought they’d drive all the way home or because they didn’t want to leave the car parked on the street where it was and hadn’t considered an alternative way to get home.

  1. Share the Driving

If you regularly socialise with a similar group of people, take turns to be the designated driver so that each of you share the responsibility for getting everyone else home. Whilst you may not be able to drink on one occasion, you will know that on the next occasion you can let your hair down and not worry

  1. Alternate your drinks

Rather than knock pint after pint back, why not alternate your drinks? We don’t mean between beer and whisky or wine and then spirits. Alcohol actively dehydrates your body and by drinking water after every alcoholic drink will help minimise the effects of dehydration. Not only will this help prevent a hangover, but it should help keep you in a sound frame of mind.

  1. Eat!

A common mistake is drinking on an empty stomach. Eating food slows the absorption of alcohol into your blood stream meaning it will take you longer to become intoxicated. It may help you not feel intoxicated at all. With that said, the quantity of alcohol you may drink is not reduced by eating so even though you might not feel drunk it does not mean that you are not over the limit. If you eat food and slow the rate of absorption, it should help you feel relatively sober and keep a clear head, so you avoid making poor decisions.

  1. Arrange a lift home

This could come under planning ahead, but we have separated it as this option involves relying on someone else. Rather than arranging a taxi or public transport, why not ask a sober friend or family member if they would pick you up at the end of the evening? If this is a possibility it will eliminate all temptation to drive home knowing your carriage will be waiting for you.

The main idea behind these tips is to avoid a position where your judgement is impaired whilst your car is nearby. Alcohol does impair our judgement so even if you would never dream of driving home drunk when you’re sober, you must remember that it’s not the sober version of you in control after a night out with colleagues and a free bar.

If you do end up in a pickle over the festive season, please do not hesitate to give us a call for some advice. We will be open throughout the festive season with our specialists on-hand to help until 11 pm each evening (excluding New Year’s Eve.

Speak to Neil in confidence by calling 0800 433 2880 or 0207 448 3029 or email info@drinkdrugdriving.co.uk. Alternatively, send us an online enquiry using the form below or email: 

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