It’s a busy time of year for those working in the transport and logistics industry, making sure that all their customers receive their deliveries before the Christmas shutdown. It’s also a busy time of year for parties and socialising; many people have more to drink than they would during the rest of the year.
We all know that drinking and driving don’t mix well. During last year’s Christmas campaign, police stopped more than 100,000 vehicles, with 5,698 breath tests that were positive, failed or refused. But how confident are you about the facts around how long it takes for alcohol to leave your body? If your livelihood depends on you being able to drive, then it’s worth making sure you know.
How quickly does your body break down alcohol?
As a basic rule of thumb, it takes about one hour for your body to break down one unit of alcohol. But this varies depending on:
- Your weight
- Whether you’re male or female
- Your age
- Your metabolic rate
- How much food you’ve eaten
- The type and strength of the alcohol
- Whether you’re on any medication and what that is
- How effectively your liver is working.
How much is one unit of alcohol?
One unit is equivalent to 10ml or 8g of alcohol. But many measures contain more than one unit:
- There are 2.1 units in a 175ml glass of standard strength (12%) wine and 3 units in a large (250ml) glass
- There are 2 units in a pint of low strength (3.6%) lager, beer or cider and 3 units in a higher strength (5.2%) pint
- There is 1 unit in a single measure (25ml) of spirits.
Add up your units
Make sure you accurately add up your units after a night out. If you have just one large glass of wine with a meal, it will take your body about 3 hours to break down the alcohol. A pint of beer in the pub will take 2 hours, strong lager will take longer. If you have a few drinks on a night out it could take many hours to leave your body and you could still be over the legal limit the following morning.
If you manage a fleet of drivers, make sure they are all fit to drive. Have a safe Christmas on the roads!