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Drink-driving myths debunked

There are numerous myths surrounding drink-driving, some of which are actually widely believed.

Drink driving is back in the spotlight because the number of drunk drivers involved in accidents has risen for the first time in a decade.

In 2015, 3,450 drivers failed a breath test after a crash – up from 3,227 in 2014.

Department for Transport (DFT) records show the number had previously fallen every year from a high of 6,397 in 2005.

We’ve teamed up with Mark Rigby from Insurance Revolution to put the record straight.

“If you hold your breath before the test you’ll pass”
This popular myth has been around for years, and wrongly teaches people that if they hold their breath prior to a breathalyser test, their body will not release alcohol into the lungs and will allow them to pass the test.

This is not true. In fact, if you hold your breath prior to taking a breathalyser test, it may even increase the concentration of alcohol in your breath.

“If you eat lots of starchy foods it will soak up the alcohol in your system”
This is partly true. Eating lots of starchy food like bread or pasta will soak up the alcohol that is in your stomach. However, this means that it will take longer for the alcohol to leave your system altogether.

“You have to drink a lot to still be over the limit the next day”
Alcohol always takes the same amount of time to leave your system, regardless of whether or not you’ve slept.

If you drink a large glass of wine, it will take around three hours for your body to break it down. If you drink a bottle of wine, it will take around nine hours for the alcohol to leave your system completely. This is more than the average person spends asleep overnight, so if you’ve had a heavy night, you may still be over the limit the next morning.

“Drink driving is only a problem around Christmas and New Year”
Surprisingly, the most common time for drink and driving, according to the amount of arrests made, is June.

The police are just as strict about drink driving over Christmas and New Year as they are throughout the rest of the year, so it’s always good to be aware of your limits at all times.

“You have to actually be driving to be convicted”
The legal definition of being drunk and in charge of a motor vehicle is: “A person is in charge of any motor vehicle on a road or other public place after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in his breath, blood or urine exceeds the legal limit.”

Being in charge of a car does not mean that you have to actually be driving it. You could, for example, be searching for something in your parked car. However, if you have your keys on you, you are still in charge of the vehicle, and face prosecution.

“Hardly anyone has an accident the morning after”
Did you know that almost a quarter of fatal road crashes that happen between 6am and 12 noon are alcohol related? Many of these drivers are people who think they are okay to drive the morning after the night before.

Of course, the only way to be completely certain that you’re within your limits is to never drink and drive….

So, don’t drink and drive!

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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