How many units is the drink drive limit in the UK?

There are strict alcohol limits in place to keep you and others safe whilst driving, these limits are determined by units of alcohol which you’re allowed to drink before it becomes too unsafe for you to get behind the wheel. Knowing these units of the drink drive limit can help to ensure safety whilst on the road.units drink driving limit

Drinking under the influence of alcohol is illegal, and you can face imprisonment, get banned from driving, as well as facing a fine.

Alcohol typically has the effect of slowing you down, as well as impacting how the body responds which makes driving unsafe. By knowing the units for the drink drive limit you can ensure that you can get behind the wheel safely.

The Government has strict guidelines in place for the levels of alcohol which are permitted in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland has different guidelines which have been in place since 2014.

For England, Wales and Northern Ireland the guidelines state that the limit is 80 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood, 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath and 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine.

The limits in Scotland are different, they are 50 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood, 22 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath and 67 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine.

It’s not possible to convert this accurately to units of alcohol, or how many drinks that these guidelines equal, as it’s completely different for each person.

Alcohol can affect every person in a different way depending on your weight, age, sex, metabolic rate. The type of alcohol that you drink can also make an impact, as well as the food that you’ve eaten and your personal stress levels too.

How many units can a woman drink and drive?

There are no specific guidelines given when it comes to how many units a woman can drink and then get behind the wheel. This is because alcohol affects people in different ways based on their weight, metabolism and more.

Typically it is said that drinking just two pints of a regular-strength lager or two small glasses of wine will put you over the limit to drive.

How many units can a man drink and drive?

Everyone has different limits when it comes to alcohol as there are so many different factors which affect the impact that it has on the body. So there isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to how many units a man can drink and safely drive.

On average there are 2.3 units in a pint of regular strength lager, however there are more units in a stronger strength lager or cider. It’s said that the average person can drink two pints of a regular strength lager and this would put you over the limit to safely drive.

For a small glass of wine, which is 125ml, and with a 12% ABV (Alcohol by Volume) this is measured typically as 1.5 units. Of course this changes with wine that is a higher percentage of ABV. Just two small glasses of wine will put you over the limit to drive. For the majority of spirits just a single measure is 1 unit of alcohol.

How long after drinking can you drive? 

How long you wait to drive after drinking again depends on so many different factors, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.

Units of alcohol measure the amount of pure alcohol in a drink. One unit is the equivalent to 10ml of pure alcohol, this is said to be the amount of alcohol that an average adult can process within an hour. So this suggests after an hour, there would be little to no alcohol left in the blood of an adult.  However, this can vary from person to person.

On average it will take two hours for a pint of lager to leave your system, and a large glass of wine could still be in the blood four hours later. It also takes an hour for blood to be absorbed into the system.

In reality whilst you might think you’re fine to drive, in actual fact, you’re probably not and the best thing to do is not drink and drive. Even small amounts of alcohol can impact your ability to drive, so the best thing to do is avoid any alcohol if you’re driving.