Christmas time seems to be the one time of year when it is acceptable to drink at all hours of the day. I know for us our Christmas day in the past has involved breakfast at Damian’s parents which of course means Bucks Fizz. We have stayed there for a few hours usually and the drinks are flowing; more bucks fizz, mulled wine, glasses of wine and perhaps a glass of bailey’s. We then take the drive over to my parents where we are welcomed with a beer or a glass of wine whilst we exchange gifts.
Then, of course come the main event of Christmas Dinner and there are numerous bottles of wine followed by Port.
It’s easy to drink much much more than you realise and it’s easy to think that you’ve had only a drop or two, or that you drank with your meal (so that probably absorbed the alcohol) and the rest was drunk earlier in the day so probably out of your system by the time you get behind the wheel.
The DVLA claim that 744,000 UK drivers have said that they will be over the limit when they drive at Christmas. The Co-Operative Insurance polled 2000 people and almost a fifth admitted to thinking that they would be over the legal drink drive limit when they take to the roads.
I find that such a scary statistic. Drink driving can kill. Drinking impairs your ability to react in situations and the consequences can be catastrophic.
Whilst there are guidelines as to how many units can be drunk, it is impossible to say how alcohol affects each individual. I personally won’t touch a drink if I am driving within four hours; at Christmas if I am driving, I generally have half a glass of wine with my meal and that’s it. I’d much rather have a glass of wine at home once I know I’m in for the rest of the day.
Over the Christmas and New Year period make sure you have the conversation with friends and family or those you are traveling with; make sure that you are agreed who the designated driver is. Agreeing up front saves any confusion and I know that Damian and I always make sure we know who is driving before we head anywhere that might have drink. Generally I will drive as I’m not fussed about drinking but we always make sure we are clear before either of us touches a drop.
The Co-Op have produced a neat little tool to help you and your friends decide who the designated driver should be. Using the designated driver finder you can easily (and argument free!) choose who will be driving and make sure that if it’s you then you share the IOU with those you’ll be driving home!
I like the IOU idea…. I might tell Damian that if I’m the designated driver this Christmas then he owes me a foot massage….
This Christmas and New Year please please please do think before you have a drink and get behind the wheel. Use the fun tool and choose who will be driving you home.
To read more about the Co-Operative’s research see here.