Saturday, 26 May 2012

Beware of "Sex on the Beach" in the midday sun!

Co-authored by Jeanette Miller and Jonathan Berry

Isn't this sunshine gorgeous?! Doesn't it make you feel so much happier when you open those curtains and see glorious blue sky? Like many Brits, does this seemingly rare heatwave also increase your tendency for an alcoholic tipple or two in the sunshine. Maybe because it is so rare to be able to sit freely outside, more people are encouraged to go for a drink after work or on their dinner hour and can decide to ‘chance’ driving home. The excitement of the summer sun is then short lived when they are arrested for drink driving and are looking at a minimum 12 month ban.

The summer sun can also increase the temptation to look at the cocktail menu. Popular cocktails such as the ‘Cosmopolitan’ and ‘Long Island Ice Tea’ have several different spirits in and because of the home made aspect to these drink consumers are often unaware of exactly how many units they are drinking.

Despite the fact that the drink driving limit can be exceeded even with one drink, there is a common view across the country that any more than two pints is unacceptable. There is little or no guidance out there on how many cocktails you can have! Possibly because most cocktails on their own would send you straight over it.

I have been harping on for years about the "2 pints" theory being flawed in itself as every drink is different and contains varying alcoholic content. The amount of ‘acceptable’ alcoholic drinks is completely different from person-to-person.

Factors that people need to take into consideration are:
  • The person’s gender
  • The person’s weight
  • The person’s current levels of stress
  • The person’s age
  • Whether the person has eaten in the past few hours; and
  • The person’s metabolism
Cocktails have several different spirits in them and the flavour is usually masked by fruit-based mixers and sugar. Many people can get carried away sipping their ‘sex on the beach’ and can easily be convinced to order a ‘mojito’ to follow.

Cocktails are commonly served in large jugs and are regularly ordered between friends. Again, this can be very dangerous before driving home as you are unaware the amount you are drinking and exactly how many units are in the glass you have poured yourself!

Drinking pints of lager these days is just as hazardous as fashionable cocktails! There are many continental lagers and beers now on the menu and people very rarely ask the percentage of the alcohol content when a pint is ordered.

Half a pint of 3.5% beer/lager or cider is approximately one unit of alcohol. Following reading this blog, I hope you will now notice that many continental lagers are now closer to 5% or even 6%!
This drastically effects the volume of lager that you can drink, alongside the other factors stated above, before being caught driving over the limit.

Apart from taking a breathalyser test before getting behind the wheel (and even they have their faults!) there are no definitive physiological indicators whether you will be over or under the limit. If caught and convicted, the "chancing it" cocktail could cost you your job and have a knock on effect to innocent third parties, such as family members.

The vast majority of people who call us to find out what they can do about the drink drive prosecution they face start by saying, "I'm not a drink driver and I completely disagree with drink driving". I don't doubt that for one minute as I am yet to come across someone who supports getting behind the wheel when drunk. The common theme amongst virtually every client we assist is a lack of awareness and poor judgement. Don't let the cocktail menu tempt you to join this club!

If you have unfortunately been caught drink driving and would like to pick up the phone and talk things through with one of our experienced caseworkers , then please get in touch on Free phone 08000 85 27 84.

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