Having a Christmas tipple? What van drivers need to know about driving the morning after the night before

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While Christmas can be a busy time for couriers and van drivers, it is also a time when many of us like to let our hair down and enjoy a few drinks. This is also the time of year when police usually ramp up their drink driving campaigns in a bid to educate the public about the dangers of driving after drinking alcohol.

Thankfully most people get the message, but what about the morning after? While you may feel well-rested the next day after having a few drinks, there may still be high levels of alcohol in your bloodstream.

If you are a van driver or courier and your job involves driving from early in the morning until late at night, then you need to think about the amount you drink the night before the day’s work.

What is the legal limit?

When we talk about drink driving, we often hear ‘the legal limit’ being referred to. This means the ratio of alcohol to blood in your body. For example, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the legal limit is 80mg per 100ml of blood. In Scotland, the limit is lower at 50mg per 100ml.

To put this in real terms, for a man to reach that limit, they would need to drink two pints of regular-strength beer, for a woman it would take slightly more than a pint of beer or a large glass of wine.

Of course, police will usually advise people not to drive at all after they have had a drink.

Won’t the alcohol have left my bloodstream by the next morning?

It can take many hours for alcohol to leave your bloodstream and if you have drunk an excessive amount the night before, then there will still be high levels in the morning. Different factors can affect this such as how much you drank and what time you stopped drinking, but a rough guide is that it takes one hour for your body to get rid of one unit of alcohol.

A glass of wine or pint of beer can be around 2-3 units, meaning it can take around three hours to clear your body, providing you don’t drink anymore after it.

So, if you have an early start the next morning as a courier or van driver, then you need to think twice about having that second drink or when to stop drinking the night before.

Won’t some black coffee and a hearty breakfast do the trick?

Coffee may help you stay alert while a full belly may help fuel your day, but the most effective way to get alcohol out of your body is to wait. That’s because the only way alcohol leaves your body is when it is broken down by your liver. The more drinks you have, the more work your liver does and the longer it takes. There is no way to speed up the process, so that’s why it is important to think carefully about how much you are drinking the night before work and when you stop.

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