AS Christmas party season fast approaches, many are booking hotels and taxis in preparation for a boozy night out.

However, data shows that more people are taking the risk and jumping behind the wheel after a drink.

READ MORE: Thames Valley Police campaign to reduce drink and drug driving over Christmas

New figures reveal that 8,665 motorists were caught drink-driving in the South East last year.

According to the data obtained in a Freedom of Information by, Christmas season topped the list as 864 drivers were caught for the offence in December alone.

According to the figures, Thames Valley saw the highest number of offences, with 2,268 drivers caught drink-driving last year, and the festive season proved to be particularly busy for police, with more drivers caught there in December than any other area (240 - 19 per cent).

READ MORE: Whitley arrests following police patrols

Throughout the UK, drink-driving offences over last year's festive period increased by 16 per cent compared to the previous year.

Research shows that people are drinking without fully understanding how much they can have before driving.

According to the research, more than a third (37 per cent) of drivers would drive after having one drink, while nearly one three (32 per cent) would feel safe to drive after two or more drinks. carried out an experiment to find out how much people's perceptions of what they can drink before driving differ from reality.

During the experiment, participants drank as much as they wanted to the point where they'd feel safe to drive.

They were breathalysed 30 minutes after their first drink, then again an hour and a half later.

A short film by the company shows some were found to be over the limit without realising they'd been affected by the alcohol.

Further research shows that people aren't just taking the risk after a drink or two.

Nearly half (46 per cent) of UK motorists who were caught drink-driving were still over the limit the morning after, and it's clear a good night's sleep isn't always enough, but nearly one in six (16 per cent) of drivers are confused about how long they should wait between drinking and driving.

To help drivers stay on the right side of the law, has released a ‘morning after calculator’.

By using this, drivers can work out how much alcohol could still be in their system and estimate how long they’ll have to wait before it leaves their body.

Research shows that older drivers are the most likely to risk drink-driving.

More than half (55 per cent ) of over 55s admit to driving after drinking, with men being almost three times more likely to be prosecuted for drink-driving than women.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, said: "With many of us enjoying celebrations with friends and family, we need to clue up on the drink-drive laws, as it’s clear so many people are taking the risk and driving after a drink. And as our experiment shows, sometimes even one drink is enough to push us over the limit.

"Surprisingly, the morning after seems to be a prime time for drink-drivers. But how long do we need to wait before we can drive? Working out units versus hours passed is confusing at the best of times, so we've released our morning after calculator to estimate when you should be safe to drive.

"Ultimately, jumping behind the wheel after a drink is putting yourself and other road users at risk. Not only this but it can land you with a fine or driving ban.

"If you’re drinking, don't drive. If you’re driving, don't drink."