What is binge drinking?

We all know the main rule when it comes to drink driving: don’t do it.
Alcohol affects us all in different ways. Some people will feel the effects after just a few sips, while others may have to have two or three drinks before the booze starts to kick in. But that doesn’t mean people who can tolerate more alcohol should ever get behind the wheel after drinking.
A small glass of wine could be enough to push someone over the legal limit. Perhaps you’ve been in this situation in the past – thinking you were fine to drive, but got pulled over and breathalysed to reveal that you’re actually breaking the law.
People who have been convicted of drink driving face penalty points, fines, bans and potential prison sentences in more serious cases. Another consequence is that car insurance can become much more expensive, or certain providers may refuse to provide cover full stop.
That’s where the Insurance Factory can help. Working with a carefully selected panel of insurers, we can find you drink driving insurance that features all the benefits of standard insurance, for a price that’s right.
We know that you’ve probably come to regret your actions, like many other people who have been convicted of driving while over the limit. That’s why we don’t judge – instead, we look at your individual case and find you a policy that matches your needs.
 A group of people clinking glasses of beer together

Are you a binge drinker?

Sometimes drivers can get behind the wheel having been out the night before, not realising that they’re actually still over the limit. The consequences are still the same, so it’s important to make sure that you never get caught out.
Binge drinking one night could mean that you’re still intoxicated come the morning. Aside from impacting your ability to drive, binge drinking could be having a detrimental impact on your overall health and wellbeing.
So, what exactly is binge drinking? Well the NHS says it typically refers to ‘drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk’.
It goes on to share some examples of binge drinking, which include:
  • Drinking eight units of alcohol in a single session for men. The equivalent of five bottles (330ml) of 5% strength beer or five small (125ml) glasses of 13% wine.
  • Drinking six units of alcohol in a single session for women. The equivalent of two pints of 5% strength beer or two large (250ml) glasses of 12% wine.
You can use this unit calculator from Alcohol Change to discover more examples.
The NHS notes how this is a loose definition of binge drinking and doesn’t apply to everyone, as alcohol impacts people in different ways.
If you binge drink – either by drinking too much or too fast in a single session – then this could have a number of potential consequences. For instance, you might lose self-control, leading you to make poor or even dangerous decisions that you will come to regret in the morning.

You might also misjudge risky situations, and there’s an increased chance of you being involved in an accident that leads to injuries or worse.

The impact of alcohol, drink by drink  

Say that your drink of choice was a medium (175ml) glass of 13% wine or a 4% strength pint of lager. Here’s a breakdown of how the alcohol may affect you, drink by drink.
  • After one drink…
    You may feel talkative and relaxed, with your self-confidence getting a boost. Your driving ability is already impaired, which is why you shouldn’t even have one alcoholic drink before getting behind the wheel.
  • After two drinks…
    There’s a boost to your blood flow and you feel less inhibited. Your attention span is shorter and you begin dehydrating (one of the main causes of a hangover).
  • After three drinks…
    Your liver has to start working harder while your reaction time has slowed significantly. Your sex drive could increase at the same time as your judgement decreases.
  • After four drinks…
    You could be emotional, easily confused and you may become less capable of performing certain tasks.
This is only a general guide. Women, young people or those with smaller builds could feel these effects after drinking just a small amount of alcohol.
People who believe they have become tolerant to the effects of alcohol could, in fact, be at risk of developing health problems – especially if drinking has become a daily habit.
 A bar with customers ordering drinks

How the cut the risk of binge drinking

If you’re worried you might be binge drinking, there are many things you can do in order to help cut the health risk it poses. Some tips include:
  • Setting a limit on how many alcoholic drinks you’re going to have in one session (bearing in mind the binge drinking examples above).
  • Drinking more slowly – don’t feel forced to keep up with friends and go at your own pace, ideally alternating with water or another non-alcoholic drink.
  • Drinking with food, which will naturally slow down your drinking. However, don’t think that food will ‘soak up’ the alcohol and risk getting behind the wheel.

Reducing the overall risk from alcohol

If you want to stay happy and healthy, then it’s important to take steps to minimise the risks presented by alcohol. Bear these tips in mind:
  • Whether you’re a man or woman, you shouldn’t be drinking more than 14 units weekly on a regular basis. That equates to six pints of 4% beer or six medium glasses of 13% wine.
  • If you tend to drink up to 14 units a week then it’s best to spread your drinking across three days or more.
  • Want to cut down? The first thing to do is designate a few days of the week as being drink-free days (such as Monday through to Thursday).

Drink driving insurance from the Insurance Factory

If you’re looking to get back on the road after a drink driving conviction, or after committing another offence, we can help. Get a drink driving insurance quote today!