How To Deal With Drunk Drivers

Last Updated: 10/05/2022

Drink driving is a significant problem on the UK roads and while much has been done to battle it in recent years, the work continues and sadly people continue to put lives at risk.

Despite many high-profile advertising campaigns to raise awareness, plus numerous high-profile accidents that have been caused by drunk driving, people are still willing to jump behind the wheel to drive after drinking alcohol.

It’s irresponsible in the extreme and not only endangers their own life, but the lives of other road users and pedestrians as well.

Currently, the legal drink drive limit in the UK is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath or 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine.

This is more forgiving than in many European countries, but is still broken on a daily basis by numerous drivers.

There are generally two types of drink drivers, broadly speaking.

There will be the person who has had a lot of drinks and knows full well they are over the limit but takes a gamble anyway, and then people who have perhaps only had one or two drinks and think they’re fine to drive.

Either way, both are risking life in the same way as the other.

Drunk driving is when a driver has had too much alcohol to the point at which they are not fully alert, cannot coordinate themselves or a vehicle properly and are generally not in a fit state to drive.

Every single person is different, meaning a different amount of alcohol will be required to get one person drunk than it would another.

This is also true of the breathalyser tests – a person’s own physique, reaction to alcohol, age and medical condition can impact how the alcohol shows up in breath and blood samples.

In short, if you’re driving anywhere then you should avoid drinking any alcohol whatsoever.

Take a cab or ask a friend to drive who can be designated driver.

Drunk drivers cost lives and sadly it’s often the lives of other innocent road users or pedestrians.

What You Will Learn

This guide is going to explain the steps you should take if you suspect a drunk driver on the road.

We will also guide you through what the process may be for punishing drunk drivers in an attempt to deter you from drunk driving yourself.

We’ve packaged the guide up into our usual format.

It covers the following sections:

  • Step-By-Step Guide
  • Video Demonstration
  • Hints & Tips
  • Useful Information
  • Final Thoughts
  • Further Resources

Step-By-Step Guide

If You Suspect A Drink Driver On The Road:

  • If you’re out and about on the road and you spot a car driving erratically and suspect drunk driving, then your first step must always be to remove yourself from danger.
  • Pull over and allow the car to go past you.
  • If possible, note down the number plate of the car.
  • Call a Police or Crime Stoppers number and report the suspected drunk driver’s details.

How The Law Deals With Drunk Drivers:

Drink driving laws in the UK continue to be tightened with the aim of further cutting down the amount of drunk drivers on the road.

Depending on the severity, there are different punishments which may be placed upon the offender.

Here are the steps the law may take to punish a driver who has been prosecuted for drunk driving.

  • If you’re caught being in control of a vehicle while over the drink drive limit or in an unfit state to drive, you could be punished with up to 3 months in prison, a fine of up to £250 or a driving ban.
  • Driving, or attempting to drive, while over the legal limit or being in an unfit state to drive could land you in prison for up to 6 months, an unlimited fine or a lengthy driving ban.
  • If you refuse to give police a blood, breath or urine sample when suspected of drink driving, you could be imprisoned for up to 6 months, given an unlimited fine or a year driving ban.
  • Finally, if you cause death by careless driving when under the influence of alcohol, it could lead to a 14 year prison term, unlimited fine and a driving ban of at least two years.

Video Demonstration

Hints & Tips

The most effective way to prevent drunk driving is to simply not drink when there is a chance that you may have to get behind the wheel.

Forward planning is also crucial if you are heading out to somewhere where alcohol will be available, organising alternative means of transport home.

Here are a few tips for planning your night without drink driving:

How To Prevent Drunk Driving:

  • If you’re at a party, down at the pub or somewhere else where alcohol is to be drunk, you should take the steps beforehand to ensure nobody will get behind the wheel drunk.
  • Plan how you will get home earlier in the night
  • If you’re driving, do not drink any alcohol.
  • Nominate a designated driver from your group of friends or family. That driver is to stay clear of alcohol all night.

Useful Information

One of the most important tools in the fight against drunk drivers on our road is the ability for members of the public, just like you, to be able to report them.

Wherever you are in the UK, there will be methods of reporting them anonymously.


Local police forces are incredibly good with their approach to drink driving and will be glad of any tip offs.

Most forces have a text hotline you can send a message to, or alternatively call the 101 non-emergency hotline.

Crime Stoppers:

Crime Stoppers are a great organisation at reporting potential drunk driver’s too.

Call them anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Final Thoughts

If you have had a drink, don’t drive.

It’s really that simple.

If you suspect someone is about to drive after drinking then engage them and try to convince them otherwise.

If they become aggressive then you can report them using the hotline given above.

At the end of the day, police simply do not have the resources to monitor every single road in the country on a nightly basis.

Therefore, if you see a suspected drunk driver, you should report them.

No matter who they are or how important the person is to you, it is in everyone’s best interests if steps are taken to ensure they do not get behind the wheel of a car.

Further Resources