Women are more likely to control their drinking over the Christmas period

More women will be staying sober at Christmas parties, according to a new study that claims they are five times more like to be the designated driver.

The survey of 17,000 UK drivers, taken by Populus for the AA, saw 70 percent of respondents say a woman would be picked to drive home, with 85 percent of female respondents saying they expected this to be the case.

The survey also found more men said they were likely to be "led astray" and drink on a night that they had intended to drive.

"Our poll clearly shows that it is women in the driving seat after a night out. This is somewhat ironic because, when the opportunity to drink is not on offer, it is normally the male who races to get behind the wheel," AA president Edmund King said.

"We have to ask whether this means that men set out to be designated drivers and end up being 'rescued' by their wives and girlfriends when the succumb to temptation and peer pressure to drink. At this time of year, we should salute our dedicated drivers of either sex."

The survey showed a slight North-South divide, with 73 per cent of all respondents in the northeast saying they expected that a woman would drive home, compared to 67 percent in London.

Drink-drive fatalities account for 13.5 percent of all road accident fatalities. As the festive season nears, police across the UK have launched their annual crackdown on drivers who overindulge before they get behind the wheel.

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