You’ve had a great night with your friends enjoying never-ending drinks, but it’s finally time to get home and sleep it off. Who’s getting behind the wheel? Hopefully, the answer is your designated driver.
Designated driving can save your life and the lives of innocent bystanders. Unfortunately, drinking and driving kills 28 people a day in the US. That’s over 10,000 lives each year.
Why is safe driving so important? Read on to find out!
What Is Designated Driving?
One of the easiest and most successful ways to avoid drunk driving is to choose a designated driver. The concept was first introduced in America in 1988 by the Harvard Alcohol Project, though it originated in Scandinavia.
Designated, safe driving involves choosing someone who agrees not to consume alcohol so they can drive their friends or family home. The concept asks people to have a plan in place to ensure safe driving.
Usually, designated drivers are common during social, sporting, and work-related functions. A sober driver will ensure their family members and peers get home safely. Sometimes, sober drivers are people who don’t drink alcohol but enjoy these events among friends.
As a designated driver, you shouldn’t worry about anyone “poking fun” or placing pressure on you for not drinking. Instead, you should take the responsibility of having everyone’s lives in your hands seriously.
Without designated driving, more car accidents and traffic-related deaths would occur. Already, over 30% of all traffic-related deaths are directly due to alcohol impairment. In 2021 alone, there were over 13,380 alcohol-related accidents.
Designated driving can save lives, including the lives of pedestrians and other drivers. The odds of being involved in a car crash (fatal or otherwise) will increase if you don’t choose a designated driver.
Who Should Be the Designated Driver?
Choose your designated driver and decide to drink responsibly before drinking. Your driver should be someone who:
- Is known for their safe driving habits
- Is responsible
- Has a valid driver’s license
- Has current automobile insurance
- Is known to resist the temptation of alcohol
- Doesn’t fold under peer pressure
Your driver can either choose to pick everyone up at a designated time or attend the event and avoid alcohol. Don’t choose someone who will have a few drinks, sober up, and drive everyone home. Doing so could risk the lives of everyone in the vehicle.
Have your designated driver collect everyone’s keys before anyone starts drinking. This can help you avoid confrontation or an accident later.
If you’re unable to find a sober driver, consider requesting a professional taxi car service or rideshare service. You can call a Lyft or Uber to pick you up to ensure you get home safely. Many rideshare services promote specials and offer free drives during big holidays.
If you decide to drive your car to an event and drink, leave the vehicle and come back for it later. It’s easy to drink more than you plan to, especially during special events.
Establish a safe driving plan before the event. Stick to it to ensure everyone involved gets home safely.
The next time you’re planning to attend an event where drinking is involved, volunteer to be the designated driver. You and your friends can take turns to ensure everyone gets home safely.
As the safe driver, you won’t have to worry about waking up with a hangover the next day. Instead, you can enjoy the night out and wake up feeling rested and refreshed.
Peace of Mind:
You’ll have the reassurance of knowing you’re the reason your friends arrived home safely. That reassurance can feel like a reward for good behavior. Your friends will appreciate it later, too.
During the event, you’ll have the free entertainment of watching how your friends act while they’re drunk. Feel free to tease them for their antics later.
Safety and Security:
The top benefits of designated driving are safety and security. You can stay alive and out of jail if you choose safe driving. You’ll save your life, your friends’ lives, and potentially, the lives of innocent victims on the road.
If you decide to drink and drive, you could get into a life-changing accident. You’ll end up in jail for a DUI and likely have to attend alcohol rehab.
If you or a friend struggles with alcohol abuse, seek help before there’s an incident. Attending a rehab program could save your life or the lives of others. It will also preserve your future.
Drinking and driving isn’t only illegal and dangerous; it’s also expensive. Designate driving can save you thousands of dollars in court fees.
Going to a bar or club is expensive as well. If you attend a social event with friends who are drinking, talk to the bartender. You could negotiate a discount or a free soft drink if you’re the designated driver.
As the driver, you’ll remain in control of the night’s activities. You won’t have to rely on anyone else to get home. You won’t be at the mercy of anyone’s plans, which can feel empowering.
Instead, your friends will rely on you. You can decide when they’ve had enough and if it’s time to call it a night.
You’ll even become a positive influence on your friends. You can prevent them from making dangerous decisions that can affect your future. They’ll appreciate having a friend they can count on.
Tips for Safe Driving:
Have a plan before leaving for the night. As the driver, try to:
- Consume a large meal beforehand
- Drink mocktails or soda to have a drink in hand
- Plan ahead
- Avoid the bar area
- Keep yourself occupied
- Hold everyone’s car keys
Don’t go back on your word once you decide to stay sober. Remember, everyone is counting on you.
Drink Responsibly: Choose a Designated Driver
Being the designated driver is an important responsibility; one that can save lives. Prioritize safe driving the next time you go out with friends. They’ll thank you for it later.
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