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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
  • concussion
  • 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 running across a busy road.

Alcohol lowers your inhibitions. This means the more you drink, the more willing you are to take risks. 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 1 or 2 drinks your reaction times are slower. Your coordination and control also get worse.

This makes you more likely to:

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

Things that put you at risk when drinking alcohol include:

  • 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 - for example, walking in dark places or near water, operating machinery, lighting fires or using chip pans.
  • Stay with people you know.
  • Have a plan for the night.

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

Weekly low-risk alcohol guidelines


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

Non-urgent advice: Get help with problem alcohol use

Freephone 1800 459 459 for confidential advice

Page last reviewed: 22 March 2023
Next review due: 22 March 2026