Avoiding alcohol-related accidents and injuries

The more you drink, the greater your chance of injury or death. It also means you risk injuring someone else.

More than 1 in 4 people attending emergency departments have alcohol‑related injuries.

Alcohol-related injuries include:

  • a bruise
  • twisted ankle
  • burns
  • serious injuries caused by fights
  • workplace accidents
  • road traffic collisions
  • drowning
  • self-harm
  • suicide

Why so many accidents happen

When you have been drinking you are more likely to find yourself in a risky situation. For example, dancing on a table or dashing across a busy road.

Alcohol lowers your inhibitions. This means you are more willing to take risks the more you drink. It also affects your judgement, so you may not see danger. ­­­

You may also be more argumentative or feel angry or violent. This will depend on your mood and how the alcohol is affecting you.

Responses and coordination when you drink alcohol

After even one or two drinks your reaction times are slower. Your coordination and control also get worse.

This make you more likely to:

  • drop things
  • fall over
  • bump into things
  • misjudge distances

There are many things that put you at risk when drinking alcohol.

These are:

  • higher impulsivity
  • worse judgement
  • poor coordination
  • slower responses
  • impaired vision and hearing

How to reduce your risk

Things you can do to reduce the risk:

  • Stay within the low-risk guidelines and avoid binge drinking.
  • Avoid risky places and activities- walking in dark places or near water, operating machinery, lighting fires or using chip pans.
  • Stay with people that you know.
  • Have a plan for the night.

Knowing where you are going to go and how you are getting home can avoid unexpected risks.

Weekly low-risk alcohol guideline


If you are worried about your alcohol use, take our alcohol test to find out what type of drinker you are.

Page last reviewed: 2 December 2019
Next review due: 2 December 2022