What is a unit of alcohol? How many units are in your drink?

Stay Safe – Know the Score on Alcohol!

Drinking responsibly is in everyone’s interest.  Alcohol affects your judgment; even a small amount can affect you if you’re not used to it.  If you plan to drive – then do not drink.  That is the safest and most reliable advice.  That said, some people will still want to drink and stay within the legal limit.  Do you know the rules?

According to Drink/Drugs specialist John Price, Development Manager at the UK’s leading Drink drive rehabilitation organisation TTC Automotive, the average man can legally drink around 5 units of alcohol.  For the average woman, the total legal alcohol limit is 3 units.

Ok, so to stay legal we need a simple way to find out how many units of alcohol are in our drink!

The formula is fairly simple: we simply multiply the volume of the liquid by the strength of the alcohol and then divide the resulting figure by 1000.

Pint of Stella Artois – 4.8%

568ml (1 pint) * 4.8 = 2726.4 % 1000 = 2.7 units

2 pints takes you over the legal limit

Other drink/drive considerations…

It takes roughly 30 minutes before the alcohol you just consumed enters your bloodstream.  After that, the body can begin removing the alcohol at a rate of 1 unit per hour.

This rate cannot be rushed!

Quick maths…You get to the pub at 8pm and drink 7 pints before closing time.  7 pints is 7 lots of 2.7 units, which is just over 19 units.

You leave the pub at 11:30 pm after last orders, so your body had 3 hours processing time, so your body is carrying 16 units.

Let’s suppose, you go straight home and get a good nights rest (and don’t go on to the night club for more drinks!) In bed for midnight and up for work early at 7.30am.  Is it safe to drive?

You may have already calculated that at 11:30 pm you still had 16 units inside you.  You have 8 more hours processing time before you drive to work. 16-8 = 8 units still in your system at 7:30am.

You are over the limit still!  Only 7 pints?

Other drinks:

Whiskey 25ml (1 measure)
1 measure of whiskey, 25ml1 unit.

Red / White Wine, different measures – be careful!
Glass of Wine.  Be careful as many pubs use larger glasses these days!

175ml (new “small” standard)
Often, the standard “small” wine measure is now 175ml, which is in fact medium.  12% wine in this glass makes it 2 units of alcohol.  Red wine tends to be 12.5% and would make this glass nearly 2.2 units. 2 “small” (medium) glasses of wine puts women over the safe 3 unit limit.

What about a large glass?  250ml measure.  That’s 3 units per glass.  Think about this for a moment – 2 large glasses of wine is half a litre!  Would you dream of drinking half a litre of wine, and then driving home?  It happens – a lot!

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