Seven Ways to Avoid Drunk Driving and Get Home SafelyUpdated Nov. 21, 2020
There is only one way to guarantee you will not cause a drunk driving collision. Fortunately, it’s a remarkably simple tactic: do not drink and drive. If there is a possibility you may be driving later, do not drink so much as a sip of alcohol. If you have drunk ANY alcohol at all, do not put yourself in a position where you may be tempted to drive.
It is important to think about these issues and form solid plans in advance of any occasion which may involve alcohol. As being intoxicated affects your judgment, you may decide to drive if the option is available to you. To protect yourself from causing a drunk driving collision it is not enough simply to say: “I will not drink and drive”. You need to remove the possibility of drunk driving occurring, as when it comes down to it, alcohol may change your mind.
Choose a designated driver
When you are going to a party or are out drinking with friends, choose a designated driver who will take their car and avoid drinking alcohol. It is important to select a driver before anybody starts drinking, otherwise there may be nobody left who is not already alcohol-impaired. Designated drivers are a great way to avoid drunk driving collisions. You can develop a system whereby everybody in your friendship group takes turns to be the designated driver. That way, everybody must share in the responsibility and nobody will miss out on the fun altogether. At any rate, designated drivers get to benefit from being sober and not suffering with a hangover; they often have more fun than the people around them who are drinking!
Prepare non-alcoholic drinks
People who enjoy alcoholic drinks often struggle to abstain from drinking when everybody around them is doing it. If you are the designated driver among your friends or are taking your car to an event that involves alcohol, make sure there will be enjoyable non-alcoholic drinks available to you. If you choose something you do not often drink, you will still feel like you’re having a “treat” even without drinking alcohol. If you’re at a bar, see if the bartender will mix you a non-alcoholic cocktail. At parties and other events where people bring their own drinks, make sure you have a plentiful supply of your favorite soda or non-alcoholic beer.
Leave your car at home
If you are not the designated driver, or are going out by yourself, do not take your car with you. The “drive there, walk back” approach is often ineffective. At the end of the night when faced with leaving their car behind, alcohol-impaired drivers often choose to go against their original plan and drive home anyway. You cannot fall into this trap if you do not have access to your car.
Obviously, leaving your car at home will not do much good if you are drinking at home, or anywhere nearby. If this is the case, you may wish to give your keys to a trusted family member, friend or neighbor for safekeeping, so that you will not be tempted to drive. DO NOT give your keys to somebody who will be drinking with you.
Call family or friends
If there is nobody around who has not consumed alcohol and can drive you home safely, call a friend or a family member to pick you up. Do not get in the car with a driver who has been drinking, no matter how sober they insist they are. Many people are reluctant to disturb friends or family members to ask for a ride home, as they fear upsetting people or getting into trouble. Just remember that your loved ones will be far more upset if you drive while drunk, or are driven by an impaired driver, and end up dying in a car wreck.
Get a taxi
If none of your friends are fit to drive and you do not have anybody you can call, get yourself a taxi home. Do not be put off by the expense, as a DUI will be far more expensive. Plus, getting a cab home means you can spend the night safely tucked up in your comfortable bed, rather than sleeping it off by the roadside or on the cold floor of a jail cell. Make sure you only use registered and insured taxi drivers. Check their ID and do not get in the car with a stranger who has offered you a ride.
Stay where you are
This may not seem like a particularly appealing prospect, but it is still far better than driving while drunk. If you are in somebody’s house, find a couch or a quiet place to put your head down and get some sleep. If you are out in a bar or a club, find a nearby motel. In the event that you are outside somewhere and do not have the money for a cab or a motel, find somewhere safe to rest or sleep off the alcohol. This may mean a rather uncomfortable night spent on a bench or in a bus stop, but it is a night that will soon be forgotten and hopefully, you will learn from the experience and plan your evening better next time around. If you decide to drive yourself home, there may not be a next time.
Never ride with a driver who has been drinking
No person in their right mind would knowingly get into a vehicle with a driver who is intoxicated. Unfortunately, thousands of people die while being driven by drunk drivers every year in the United States. To protect yourself, you must establish a zero-tolerance policy towards riding with another driver who has been drinking. If your friend, family member or acquaintance has had anything to drink or smells of alcohol, do not allow them to drive you – no matter how sober and competent they appear.
In these situations, you must do your best to prevent them from driving altogether. If necessary, call their parents, siblings, or anybody else who can come and get them rather than allowing them to drive. You will not be able to live with yourself if you wake up the next day to find they have been killed, or killed somebody else, in a drunk driving collision. Remember: friends do not let friends drink and drive.
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