Road Safety

Alcohol Unit Guide

A healthy body takes ONE HOUR to process ONE UNIT of alcohol but this varies according to sex, age and body mass.

Let's say you have 3 pints of lager, 2 alcopops and 3 shots before 11:30pm.  This works out at a staggering 16.5 units!

To be safe, you must allow at least 16 hours 30 minutes before you drive. That's 4pm the next afternoon!

Common alcohol myths

"Alcohol gives you energy"

FALSE: Alcohol is a depressant that can actually make you sleepy.

"I can sober up quickly if I need to - with a cold shower, fresh air or coffee"

FALSE: None of these will make you sober.  Only time will remove alcohol from your system.

"Drink drivers can be safe, because they drive more carefully"

FALSE: Alcohol slows down reaction time, which makes driving much trickier than you think.

"Eating a big meal, or lining your stomach before or after you drink will keep you sober"

FALSE: This will only delay the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, not prevent it.

The facts

Time is the only thing that sobers you up.

There are no shortcuts.

More than a third of us underestimate when it's safe to drive the next day.

If you have a drink, take time out before driving!

It's time to take public transport, book a taxi, or share a lift... or you could have plenty of time on your hands!

Click here for more information from the Drinkaware website.


 Remember: one unit = one hour

Bottle (330ml)

Can (440ml) Pint (568ml) Litre
 Beer/Lager/Cider at 2% 0.7 units 0.9 units 1.1 units 2 units
 Beer/Lager/Cider at 4% 1.3 units 1.8 units 2.3 units 4 units
 Beer/Lager/Cider at 5% 1.7 units 2.2 units 2.8 units 5 units
 Beer/Lager/Cider at 6% 2 units 2.6 units 3.4 units 6 units
 Beer/Lager/Cider at 9% 3 units 4 units 5.1 units 9 units
 Alcopops at 5% 1.4 units      
  Small measure (25ml) Large measure (35ml) Small double measure (50ml) Large double measure (70ml)
Spirits: Gin/Rum/Vodka/Whisky at 38-40% 1 unit 1.4 units 1.9 - 2 units 2.7 - 2.8 units
  Small glass (125ml) Standard glass (175ml) Large glass (250ml) Bottle (750)
 Wine/Champagne at 10% 1.25 units 1.75 units 2.5 units 7.5 units
 Wine/Champagne at 11% 1.4 units 1.9 units 2.8 units 8.3 units
 Wine/Champagne at 12% 1.5 units 2.1 units 3 units 9 units
 Wine/Champagne at 13% 1.6 units 2.3 units 3.3 units 9.8 units
 Wine/Champagne at 14% 1.75 units 2.5 units 3.5 units 10.5 units
  Standard measure (50ml)      
Fortified Wine: Sherry/Port 17.5 - 20% 0.9 - 1 unit      
Shots may either be spirits or liqueurs and are generally drunk very quickly.  Different liqueurs can vary considerably in strength - they can be stronger or weaker than this example.
  Small measure (25ml) Large measure (35ml)    
Tequila/Sambuca Shots at 38 - 40%  1 unit 1.3 units    
A healthy body takes one hour to process one unit of alcohol but this varies according to sex, age and body mass.