How soon you can drive after pints, wine or shorts this Christmas as garda checkpoints set-up nationwide

Family gatherings are underway across the country for those who were lucky enough to make it home to their loved ones.

Many people split their holiday celebrations between both sides of their families and so it’s likely many people will be headed away in the car tomorrow for their next stop.

For those who will be drinking alcohol over the next few hours, it’s important to know that depending on the volume you consume, it may not be safe to hit the road first thing in the morning.

According to gardai, who will be carrying out checkpoints over the weekend, one standard drink takes one hour to process, and this includes half a pint of beer, stout or lager, or a small glass of wine (100ml), or a pub measure of spirits (35.5ml).

So whatever your drink of choice is this weekend, here’s what you need to know about calculating your safest drive time.


If you have 10 pints of Guinness, Heineken, Carlsberg, or some other lager or stout, around 4.5%, according to Drinkaware, you can not get into the car for 20 hours after finishing your final drink.

So if you get to bed at midnight, you can not get back into the car until 8 pm the following night.


You will have to stay off the road for eight hours after you finish one bottle of red or white wine.


If you are sticking to vodka – with professional measuring – and manage to drink 10 by the end of the night, then that would mean no driving for 10 hours after your final drink.

Is there a way to process the alcohol quicker?

The simple answer to this is no.

Experts have warned that you cannot pass alcohol from your bloodstream any quicker than what is natural, you simply have to wait it out.

Common myths like drinking water, coffee or having a shower or breakfast to sober you up are not true.

Drinkaware has also warned against using store-bought personal breathalysers as they are not developed using the same standards as those used by the gardai.

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