Often referred as the 'beautiful game', football is truly on the radar around the world as people young and old sit back and enjoy the Euro 2012 football tournament. Whether you're from Europe or not, scores of young people around the world are gripped by the tournament. This footballing extravaganza gives friends and families the chance to get together in their local pubs, clubs and venues to enjoy the moment with some drinks, but beware, drink driving is always a danger!
Drinking and football have become an integral affair but we should still stick to sober driving.
It is no secret that Europeans are passionate football supporters and when a national team is playing, a country is gripped by footballing mania with young people colouring themselves in their national football-kit colours. It is also no secret that Europe, just like many other continents, couple football with alcohol. Unfortunately, during these times, football and alcohol often leads to alcohol and driving. This occurrence has been the motivation behind recent road safety campaigns that coincide with the Euro 2012 to warn drivers of the dangers of drink driving.
In the UK, organizations have stepped up their road safety awareness of drink driving during the football sporting periods. The police also increase their patrols of drink drivers.
On page 16-17 of our Youth and Road Safety Action Kit, we place an important focus on one of the key risk factor leading to many road crashes; alcohol:
Even a small quantity of alcohol can have the following effects:
This combination of reduced ability and more risk taking is a dangerous mix!
Why does alcohol have this effect?
Alcohol is a nervous system depressant or a ‘downer’. It has a numbing effect on the brain making it slower and less able to concentrate.
How much can I drink?
To stay safe do not drink at all when you will be driving. Research shows that a single drink increases the risk of death or serious injury by five times12. You do not have to be drunk for alcohol to affect your driving. Your driving abilities will be reduced even if you feel perfectly normal. If you are awake and can hold a conversation with your friends it does not mean that you can drive safely.
What can help reduce the concentration of alcohol in my blood?
The only remedy to alcohol is time, allowing your body to break down the alcohol. The liver breaks down alcohol at a rate of approximately one standard drink per hour. A standard drink is a drink which contains about 10 grams of alcohol. Restaurants usually serve alcohol in standard drink size glasses. Wine, however, is normally sold in 140 ml or 200 ml glasses. One 200 ml glass of wine contains approximately two standard drinks. Glasses used at home are likely to be bigger than the standard drink size. The labels on alcoholic drink bottles and cans sometimes show the number of standard drinks they contain.
Exercising, drinking coffee, taking cold showers, vomiting, fresh air, and other things can make you feel more alert but will not reduce your blood alcohol concentration.
Can I drink and drive as long as my breath doesn’t smell of alcohol?
No. Alcohol is actually odourless. It has no smell. What you think is the smell of alcohol is the odour of things that are added to alcoholic beverages. So if your breath doesn’t smell of alcohol it does not mean you have no alcohol in your body and that you are safe.
Enjoy the Euros but stay sober when driving, for everyone's sake.
We understand that alcohol is often intertwined with football but as young people, we must advocate zero alcohol and driving because the truth is; alcohol and driving just do not mix! Drink driving crashes destroy lives and while we do not want to dampen the footballing spirit, it is crucial that as young people, we stick to this simple message to enjoy the contest spirit without unnecessary road injuries and fatalities.
After all, why would you let good times go bad with drink driving? Keep safe and enjoy the football (if you are that way inclined!).
Let's follow the example of those footballers who support road safety and keep safe on the road: