This holiday season: If you drink, don’t drive!
Get the facts about alcohol, so you can make the most of your holiday parties and get home safe.
True or false—beware of myths about alcohol!
One drink an hour keeps you under the limit of 80 mg/100 ml (or 0.08%).
- For this to be true, you’d need to metabolize alcohol faster than the average person. A bottle of 5% beer, a glass of wine or a shot of spirits will produce a blood-alcohol level of about 25 mg/100 ml for a man and about 35 mg/100 ml for a woman. Most people can metabolize about 15 mg/100 ml of alcohol per hour.1 Also, your blood alcohol will continue to increase after your last drink, reaching its peak about an hour later.
There’s nothing you can do to sober up faster.
- You’ve heard all the tricks—take a cold shower, drink strong coffee, have an energy drink, run or dance around—but in reality, there’s nothing you can do to speed up how fast your body metabolizes alcohol.
- Also, eating food doesn’t help your body digest alcohol more quickly. In fact, food just slows down the absorption of alcohol in your system.
The 0.08% alcohol limit doesn’t cover everything
- Even if your blood-alcohol level is below 80 mg/100 ml (or 0.08%), your driving could still be impaired, especially if you’re tired, stressed, sick, or taking prescription medication.
- The police can still arrest drivers with a blood-alcohol level below the legal limit if they show obvious signs of being impaired. Roadside coordination tests have proven to be a good indicator of impairment.
To avoid the risks of drinking and driving, it’s a great idea to have a designated driver if you’re planning a party or an evening out with friends.2
What can drivers do?
- Plan how to get home before you go out. It’s good to have a few of options so you don’t get caught without a ride.
- Public transportation: Getting home on the bus or the metro is an easy solution if you live in a larger city. Check the schedule before your night out and make sure you have some loose change.
- Taxi: Even if you don’t have cash, most taxi companies accept credit cards. Check the taxi company’s payment options when you call.
- Family or friends: Ask someone to pick you up and drive you home. Chances are, they’ll be only too happy to see you get home safely.
- Operation Red Nose: During the holiday season, hundreds of volunteers work through the night to help party-goers get home safely. A big plus is that they drive you home in your own car. Operation Red Nose is a free service, but donations they receive are redistributed to community youth organizations.
- Know your limits. People react differently when they drink, so learn to trust your own limits. Don’t rely on how much other people are drinking to know when to stop.
What can hosts do?
- At the risk of looking like a party-pooper, ask your guests if they have a designated driver. If you think one of your guests isn’t fit to drive home, offer to pay for a taxi or ask them to spend the night.
- Make sure you also offer food and non-alcoholic drinks. These won’t help your guests sober up but offering them throughout the evening can help them drink less alcohol.
- Be a responsible host by not drinking too much. By staying sober, you’ll be able to take good care of your guests.
What can parents do?
- Make sure your children understand the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You can also help them avoid the risks by offering to pick them up after an evening out.
- Make sure your children have money to take a taxi home.
- Remind your children never to get into a car if the driver has been drinking or taking drugs.
A step in the right direction
Impaired driving awareness campaigns have increased over the years, and statistics show that this effort has paid off. However, future studies will need to consider the impact of Cannabis legalization on impaired driving. The next challenge will be to raise awareness of the dangers of drug-impaired driving.
Want to find out more? Visit the Drug-Impaired Driving Learning Centre.
This holiday season: If you drink, don’t drive!
In the weeks ahead, a lot of Canadians will be hitting the roads for family and office parties or just getting together with friends. If your night out includes alcohol, make sure you have a backup plan to get home safely.
Certain conditions, limitations and exclusions may apply.
These tips are provided for information purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.
1. Élimination de l’alcool : cinq mythes déboulonnés, Protégez-vous (French only)
2. Behaviours – Drinking and Driving – Responsibilities and Smart Solutions, Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec