• More of us are volunteering to be a designated driver (DD) than ever before, with 26 per cent of Brits saying they're the DD more now than they were ten years ago
  • Worryingly, 31 per cent of Brits have been pressured to drink by their friends when they’re the DD
  • Over a third (36 per cent) of DDs say they've been distracted by a drunk passenger in their car

With the festive season just around the corner and alcohol consumption set to increase by 40 per cent over the Christmas period*, new research by breakdown cover provider Green Flag reveals that the true heroes this Christmas will be the designated drivers (DDs) across the country.

A massive 85 per cent of Brits reveal that they have been the DD at some point – something that's really important during the festive period, when Britons consume 600 million units of alcohol* – but some worrying figures have come out about those who will be making sure their friends and family get where they need to be, no matter what.

Although abstaining from the booze themselves, 31 per cent of designated drivers have received peer pressure from friends to have a drink before getting behind the wheel. Though for younger drivers the pressure to drink drive is even greater, as over half (54 per cent) of designated drivers aged 17 -24, admitted to having received encouragement to drink.

As well as the pressures associated with abstaining from drinking, DDs are also faced with the irresponsible behaviour of drunken passengers. Over a third (36 per cent) of Brits admit they've been distracted by a drunk passenger whilst driving.

Neil Wilson, head of rescue at Green Flag, commented:"Whether it's due to the high price of taxis or a growing worry for friends and family members' safety, those who choose to act as the designated driver are the true heroes this Christmas.

"With more traffic than usual and adverse weather conditions over the Christmas period, we are urging DDs to take care on the roads to ensure they get their passengers home safely. After all that planning and goodwill its worth ensuring the night isn’t ruined by their car breaking down, so it’s a good idea to carry out the necessary car checks before getting behind the wheel. If a breakdown does occur, Green Flag is dedicated to getting our customers back on the road 24 hours a day 365 days a year, no matter what."


Maria McCarthy, motoring journalist, commented:"It's important that family and friends who are lucky enough to be chauffeured home by a designated driver this Christmas should respect any rules they put in place, such as time of departure or even the music they choose to play, to ensure a safe and happy journey home. I would also encourage passengers to show their gratitude - whether that's through sincere thanks, treating them to non–alcoholic drinks or promising to be designated driver themselves on the next outing.'”

The rules designated drivers put in place

So I can be in control of the music

19 per cent

I get to choose what time we leave at the end of the evening

15 per cent

I must get paid petrol money plus a fee

12 per cent

My friends must pay for my drinks the next time we're out and I’m not the designated driver

7 per cent

My friends must pay for my dinner

7 per cent

Reasons why people volunteer to be the designated driver


I'd rather my friends and family were home safe

35 per cent

It's too expensive for me / my friends / my family to use taxis now

31 per cent

It's a good excuse to leave when I want to

22 per cent

I don't trust taxis to provide a safe journey for me / my friends / my family

14 per cent

I can't afford a night out

12 per cent

I don't trust my friends to not go over the drink drive limit

8 per cent

I don't trust my partner to not go over the drink drive limit

8 per cent

To score brownie points with my partner

8 per cent


For further information please contact the Green Flag press office at Frank PR:

0207 693 6999/ [email protected]

Notes to Editors:

* According to the Freight Transport Association (FTA), alcohol consumption by Brits increases by a whopping 40% over the Christmas period

With over 40 years experience, Green Flag provides customers with breakdown cover 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Customers have access to a network of breakdown operators across the UK and mainland Europe (Euro Plus cover required).

Green Flag Motoring Assistance is underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Green Flag and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. 

Customers can find out more about Green Flag products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 1557, connecting via the Green Flag Rescue Me Application, or visiting

  • Research based on 1,248 respondents – Censuswide, December 2016
  • Based on a UK adult drivers aged 17-69
  • Research from the Freight Transport Association (FTA):   

Lucy Davies

Brand PR Manager

Direct Line Group

Tel: 01651 834446

Mob: 07759 635919

Email: [email protected]

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