Categories: News

Christmas market: mulled wine and driving don’t mix!

As the holidays approach, Christmas markets are popping up everywhere. If you are a mulled wine lover, you have to be careful when you get back behind the wheel. Just one glass of Glühwein can already put you over the legal limit for driving.

That’s it, it’s the return of Christmas markets ! With all their magic, the small stalls of homemade products, food, but also… hot wine ! Also called mulled wine in German, this typical winter drink is nothing more than a lightly cooked, strongly flavored wine. Many different spices are often added to give it flavor and it is drunk very hot. But its effects are often underestimatedespecially with the cold of winter when you want to get back behind the wheel…

Indeed, for some a single cup almost allows you to reach the limit of the blood alcohol level authorized on the road!

How much alcohol in mulled wine?

Mulled wine contains between 7 to 14.5% alcohol et spreads faster in the blood than cold drinks. The digestive organs are more supplied with blood because of the heat and thealcohol is absorbed more quickly. The high sugar content of the drink also has a strong accelerating effect.

As a reminder, the blood alcohol level depends on the body weight and the alcohol content of the drink. With a strict legal limiti.e. a blood alcohol level greater than or equal to 0.5 g/ liter of blood (i.e. 0.25 mg of alcohol per liter of exhaled air), it only takes a large glass of mulled wine to reach this limit for small sizes. A second cup and you will immediately exceed the authorized limit! It is therefore better do not drive after visiting a Christmas market with mulled wine.

What penalties if you are checked?

It is formally prohibited to drive with a blood alcohol level equal to or greater than 0.5 g/l.

As a reminder, between 0.5g/l and 0.8g/l you will receive a fine. The fine incurred can go up to 750 € but in general, it is a fixed fine of 135 €. Your vehicle is immobilized and 6 points are deducted from your driving license.

Finally, driving with an alcohol level equal to or greater than 0.8 g/l of blood is a offense. A heavy fine is incurred and you also risk a prison sentence (less than 10 years). The police can take your license and thus withdraw your right to drive for a maximum of 72 hours. Your vehicle is immobilized and 6 points are deducted from the driving license. Also, the prefect can suspend your license or require you to drive with an alcohol interlock device (EAD), depending on the results of the blood test.

You also risk other penalties, detailed here on the government website.

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No alcohol if driving after a Christmas market

So if you want to go to the Christmas market by car, you should postpone your consumption of mulled wine and opt for a non-alcoholic punch or one hot apple juice. Other solution : make mulled wine at home!

The one who drives is the one who doesn’t drink…

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