Dilemma: My brother-in-law drinks too much at lunch and then drives home

Jo Brand / 10 April 2018

A reader's brother-in-law drinks too much at lunch and then drives home; Saga Magazine's agony aunt Jo Brand is on hand for advice.

Dilemma: My brother-in-law drinks too much at lunch and then drives home

l like my brother-in-law a lot, but when he comes over for Sunday lunch, he has a habit of drinking slightly over the legal limit, then driving five miles home.

We’ve gently told him he shouldn’t, but he laughs it off saying he’s only had two pints.

What should we do?

Jo Brand's advice

This reminds me of a friend of mine who was recently sent on a speed awareness course because she had broken the speed limit.

She told me that one of the people there complained bitterly all through the session because he was only just over the limit on a 30-mile-an-hour road and felt that he was hard done by and should have been let off.

The fact of the matter is, it is the law and, if you are driving over the legally permitted speed limit, you have to suffer the same punishment as someone going faster. The same goes for drink-driving, and two pints of normal-strength lager puts you over the limit unless you are 18ft tall and weigh 45 stone. (Those figures might not be completely accurate).

Apparently, you’ve told him gently that he shouldn’t. Now perhaps you should tell him a little more forcefully.

After all, it’s not only himself he is putting at risk, but presumably other family members and the general public as well.

Should he still laugh this off, perhaps you will need to go further and apply sanctions.

Here are some options

1. Stop inviting him for Sunday lunch.

2. Start serving only soft drinks with Sunday lunch.

3. Tell him you will call the police if he drives off having had two pints.

4. Go to his place every Sunday for lunch so that you are not complicit in him having to drive.

OK, so the last one’s a bit silly.

Your brother-in-law is gambling on the fact that he will be such a tiny bit over the limit that his driving skills will not really be affected.

This, however, fails to take into account that, in the unlikely event of an accident, if he is over the limit, whether the collision is his fault or not, he will be blamed.

Good luck!

I suppose, if the worst comes to the worst, you could always let his tyres down.

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