The perils of drink-driving

Rob Hill, assistant director for community safety at Peterborough City Council

Monday, 27th August 2018, 1:00 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 12:15 pm
A breathalyser test EMN-180716-095725001

Last week was the annual Peterborough Beer Festival which always draws thousands of people from near and far to the city’s Embankment.

I’m sure everyone going had a fantastic time whilst staying safe, especially when travelling home or the next day.

We would like to remind those attending of the dangers associated with exceeding the legal drink drive limit, especially the morning after a night out.

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Drivers can still be affected by alcohol the next day, even if you feel fine when you wake up, you can still be over the legal limit or unsafe to drive.

It takes time for the body to eliminate alcohol. While taking a shower, drinking coffee or other sobering up techniques may make you feel better, it’s important to remember they do not speed up the alcohol absorption process.

Any amount of alcohol consumed affects your ability to drive and even a single drink can influence performance. Judging speed will become more difficult and reaction times to potential hazards will be slower.

An individual’s tolerance to alcohol depends on a number of factors including age, weight, gender, stress and recent food consumption.

But that said the safest thing to do is not drink and drive because the repercussions can be severe.

As well as risking your own personal safety, if you are convicted of drink driving you face the following consequences:

A minimum 12 month driving ban; A criminal record; A hefty fine; Up to six months in prison; An endorsement on your licence for 11 years;

Not only that, but your day to day life will be seriously impacted, as you’ll face:

Increased car insurance, Potential job loss; Difficulty getting into foreign countries such as the USA; Loss of your independence.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists calculate that a drink drive conviction could cost between £20,000 and £50,000 as a result of fines, solicitors fees, increased car insurance and loss of employment.

With the Bank Holiday upon us no doubt many of you will be hitting the road and making the most of an extended weekend.

Motorists should be aware of the dangers of falling asleep at the wheel and take regular breaks on long journeys.

Studies have shown that drivers don’t fall asleep without warning - they have tried to fight off drowsiness by opening a window or by turning up the radio - but this doesn’t work for long.

Research suggests that almost 20 per cent of collisions on major roads are sleep-related and these are more likely than other to result in a fatality or serious injury.

If you fall asleep at the wheel you risk killing yourself, your passengers and other innocent victims.

To help combat the danger of falling asleep, make sure you plan your journey to include a 15 minute break every two hours and don’t start a long trip if you’re feeling tired.

Remember the risks if you have to get up unusually early to start a long drive. Try to avoid long trips between midnight and 6am, when you’re likely to feel sleep anyway.

If you start to feel sleepy, find a safe place to stop. Drink two cups of coffee or a high caffeine drink and have a rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the caffeine to kick in.

Remember, the only real cure for tiredness is proper sleep. A caffeine drink or a nap is a short term solution that will only allow you to keep driving a short time.