Football season has begun, and Halloween is a week away, but these are just two of the reasons you may find yourself at a party where food and liquor are all around you, and as we continue through Autumn, even bigger holidays are fast approaching. Between peer pressure, the love of a good time, and just not paying attention, it’s easy to drink too much and become intoxicated, but what should you do if you’re too drunk to drive?
The easy answer, of course, is that if you even suspect you’ve had too much to drink, you should not get behind the wheel of a car. You might get lucky, and make it home without incident, but the costs if you don’t may be astronomical: you risk losing your insurance, losing your license, and paying hefty fines, not to mention what injuries you may cause to other people on the road.
How do you avoid driving drunk? Here are four suggestions to keep you off the road until your head is clear:
- Hand Your Keys to Someone Else: If you’re at a bar, ask the bartender to hold your keys. If you’re at a party, give your keys to a friend, or have your host put them in a safe location. Wherever you are, and whomever takes your keys, be explicit: they are not to hand them back until the next morning, when you are completely sober.
- Keep Cab Fare Handy: If you’re club-hopping or bar-hopping, or even if you’re only going to one place, always keep enough money for cab fare in a separate part of your wallet, then forget about it, until you need to pay for a ride home. It’s also a good idea to keep the number of a reliable cab company programmed into your cell phone, or on a card with your hidden money. If you’re a student, you should know that many cab companies or campus police offer “no questions asked” rides home when you’re too intoxicated to drive.
- Arrange for a Designated Driver: If you regularly go out with a group of people, take turns being the designated driver. Yes, this means that the person holding the keys doesn’t get to drink that night, but there will be other nights, and watching your drunk friends’ behavior when you’re sober can be both entertaining and educational.
- If You have No Other Options, Don’t Drink: It may sound ridiculously easy, but if you know the only way home is to drive yourself, you need to simply Not Drink. After all, you can’t drive drunk if you’ve been sipping only soda or water, and while a good cocktail is tasty, the reality is that no one need to be drunk to have fun.
Even adults can be influenced by peer pressure, so it’s also important to consider the people you party with. If they belittle you for not drinking, or aren’t willing to take their turns as designated driver, perhaps you should reconsider who your friends really are.