Drinking and driving never works
Ever since I was a kid in school, I’ve heard about how drinking and driving was wrong, illegal and extremely dangerous. We teach how to avoid impaired driving at Young Drivers of Canada, but as I’ve found out over the last couple of decades, the students that I’ve taught really know a lot of the facts already. If that’s the case, why does it still happen as much as it does, especially during the festive seasons?
Across Canada, approximately 20% of all driving fatalities involve impaired driving. The alarming part of these statistics is that roughly 16% of occupants were seriously injured from an impaired driver. So, alcohol and drugs have a huge effect on our society, but it takes a lot of composure to hold off from driving after drinking doesn’t it? Have you ever been tempted to drive after drinking? Have you ever driven after drinking when you know you shouldn’t? Was it because you felt you “had to get home”?
I think the safest way to avoid driving after drinking is to avoid drinking altogether. I’ve spoken to many people I’ve taught to drive over the years and they agreed that you don’t have to drink to have a good time when you’re with your friends. Offering soft drinks and fruit punch can help reduce the consumption of alcohol during the holiday seasons. Conversation, music and good friends really make the party, right? Now, some people will want their alcoholic drinks, so what can they do to make it a safe night?
Make the plans before you start drinking. Taking a cab to the party will mean you won’t have the option to drive home after it’s done. Temptation is always there, especially when your judgement is seriously impaired by alcohol. Not having your vehicle there takes that temptation away.
Another option to avoid driving after drinking is to have a designated driver. Choose someone who isn’t drinking to get everyone home after the party. Set this up in advance and perhaps give them $5 to cover the cost of the fuel. It’s cheaper than a cab and can be more convenient for you. You’ll just need someone to drop you off at the party so you can still leave your vehicle at home.
If the host of the party has enough room, stay the night. Again, set this up in advance so you know you’ve got a place to stay. Springing this onto the host at the last minute can be quite awkward for both you and the host; especially if they would rather you leave. If you’re going to do this, hand your keys off to them when you arrive to the party so they can give them back to you the next day. Keeping your keys with you can still cause that temptation.
Thinking about the repercussions of not having and using plans like these is important. Not only is getting caught an issue of receiving a criminal record; it can affect your job, your vehicle insurance, your traveling privileges, your bank account and of course your family. This is to say if you haven’t already hurt or killed anyone yet; including yourself.
Being impaired affects not only your judgement, but your reactions, co-ordination and ability to make proper decisions. This is why you need to think hard about your plans before going to any party. You need to use logic and act responsible when you have a clear mind. No one really belongs to the “it won’t happen to me” club. If you don’t plan ahead, you’re more likely to make the wrong choice.
It’s not just about whether or not you hit and injure or kill someone; it’s also about living the rest of your life comfortably.