Skip Navigation
Body fade

Drink and drug driving

Any amount of alcohol will impair your ability to drive. In fact, the only way to know you’re definitely safe to drive is by not drinking.

Beer, wine and spirits vary so much in strength that calculating the number of units you’ve drunk isn’t easy. You could find yourself over the limit without intending to be.

Drugs are equally as dangerous. Whether illegal or prescribed by your doctor, drugs can affect your judgement, vision and concentration.

If you have been prescribed medication and are concerned about your ability to drive safely, consult your doctor or a pharmacist.

Legal alcohol limit

Legally, the alcohol limit for drinking and driving is 80mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

That means drinking two pints of normal strength beer or one large glass of wine could put you over the limit.

Your liver takes an hour to process one unit of alcohol so if you’ve had a heavy night drinking, you could still be over the limit the next morning.

Remember, the effects of drugs may last longer than you think too.

Don’t take the risk

If you take the risk and drink or use drugs before getting behind the wheel, you could pay for it for the rest of your life.

If convicted of drink or drug driving:
  • You’ll have a criminal record
  • You’ll be banned from driving for at least a year
  • You’ll be fined up to £5000
  • You could face up to six months in prison
  • You could lose your job
  • Your insurance costs will rocket
More seriously, you could kill or injure someone, face up to 14 years in prison and have to live with it on your conscience for the rest of your life.

You don’t just take the risk as a driver. Never get into a car as a passenger when the driver’s been drinking or taking drugs. Don’t risk your life for a lift, find another way home.


"A cup of strong coffee will sober me up" – Caffeine is a stimulant so although it might make you more alert, it won’t make you sober.

"I'll be fine to drive after a cold shower" – A cold shower might be refreshing but it won’t remove alcohol from your system.

"If I just drink beer and avoid the hard stuff like spirits I'll be okay" – Alcohol is alcohol regardless of how you drink it.


To give your body time to fully recover from the effects of a heavy night of drinking, you should avoid alcohol for a full 48 hours.

It’s not worth the risk.

Was this page helpful?

This website uses cookies. By using this website, you are accepting our cookies policy and consenting to cookies being used.

Share with: