Driving drunk is a serious problem. Any time you drive intoxicated, you risk your freedom. Being convicted of DUI/DWI can result in jail time, losing your license, fines, and higher insurance rates. More important, though, are the safety risks. We all know how dangerous drinking and driving can be, yet drunk driving accidents remain common – of the nearly 40,000 traffic deaths in 2016, over 10,000 were in crashes involving a driver with a blood alcohol level (BAC) above the legal limit of 0.08%. On average, there are 28 deaths every day from drunk driving crashes. In 2010, 17 million people admitted they had driven drunk – that’s more than the population of most states. Statistics like these make it clear that all of us need to do our parts when it comes to drinking and driving prevention. So what can we do to ensure that we and our loved ones stay safe during celebrations?
When you’re out enjoying a few drinks with friends, it’s easy to tell yourself that you feel ok to drive. Unfortunately, even after just one or two, you are not in the best position to judge. Alcohol impairs normal judgement, so trusting yourself to make smart choices when you’ve been drinking is a recipe for problems. Even though you feel ok, those couple drinks are enough to affect your driving. Impaired driving is always dangerous, even if you don’t think you’re drunk.
The best way to prevent this type of problem is to plan how you’ll get home before you go out. Instead of relying on your own questionable judgement, keep yourself safe by having a plan. That could mean walking home, taking a cab, or getting a ride with a non-drinking friend. If you’ve already decided how you’ll get home, you won’t be as tempted to drive later.
Have a Designated Driver
One of the most common choices to avoid the temptation to drink and drive is to have a sober driver. It’s important to remember, this doesn’t mean a driver who drinks less than the passengers; it means someone who will not drink at all. If you have friends who don’t drink, they are often your best choice. Another option is to take turns being the designated driver among your group of friends. Regardless, if your planned driver decides to drink, find a new driver.
Use a Ride Sharing Service or a Taxi
If you don’t have a designated driver, this is your next best option. Services like Uber and Lyft have made it easy to get a ride whenever you need one. If you live in a city with good taxi service, it should be easy to flag down a cab. There is very little excuse for driving intoxicated when these options are available.
Stay Where You Are
If you’re drinking at someone’s home, you might ask the host if you can sleep for a while before you head home. If you’re out at a bar, switch to non-alcoholic drinks and stick around until you sober up. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need about an hour for each alcoholic drink you’ve had. If you don’t have time to wait it out, look for another option.
When You Are the Host
If you’re throwing a party, you should consider drunk driving prevention one of your responsibilities. This is not just the considerate and responsible thing to do; it can prevent legal trouble as well. If one of your guests has an accident while driving home from your house, you could be held liable. So keep an eye on your guests, pay attention to who’s drinking, and be aware when someone seems like they may have had too much. Don’t be afraid to take someone’s keys – they’ll probably resist and might get a bit angry, but they’ll probably appreciate it the next day.
Be sure to serve food as well, since it will help to slow the absorption of alcohol. Have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available, too. If you have games or other non-drinking activities, this can also help to slow people’s drinking.
Keeping the roads safe is everyone’s responsibility. Keeping intoxicated drivers off the road saves lives, and each of us can play a part. Plan to be safe and to keep your loved ones safe, through the holiday season and all year long.
Part of being safe on the road involves having proper insurance coverage. Freeway Insurance offers great car insurance coverage at the lowest possible rates – even if you’ve had tickets, an accident, or DUI. Request a free car insurance quote online or over the phone at 800-777-5620.