The holiday season can be filled with fun, but sometimes the fun of the holidays turns into tragedy. Unfortunately, December is typically a month that sees many fatalities due to drunk driving related accidents. In fact, The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that 781 people lost their lives in drunk driving related accidents in December 2016 alone.1 Sad statistics such as these should simply not exist. Here are 5 ways to ensure you will get home safely when drunk and not become one of these statistics.
Have a plan before you drink
After you are already drunk is not the best time to figure out how to avoid drinking and driving. No matter where you are, there are always options to help you get home safely without getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. Make sure how to get home is part of your discussion when plans are initially made, and have a back up plan too.
It is also a good idea to ensure you know how to use any driving services if that is part of your plan. Write down any details and keep them in your pocket so you don’t have to worry about remembering how to make it through the process when you are not sober.
Ask a friend to act as designated driver
The safest and simplest way to handle a night out is to have a friend commit to not drinking. This person should be the only one in your group with keys who has a clear plan to help you get home safe. However, should something come up and this person be unable to help, don’t simply choose to drive yourself. There are other options.
Call a cab
Know which cab services are in your area. Sometimes cabs can get overloaded during the holidays. Check reviews or ask friends and family which ones they recommend.
Use public transportation
Many services have discounts during holidays to help you get home if intoxicated. If you do not normally use public transportation in your area, check to see if the area you will be in is within bus or train routes.
Use a ride sharing service
Ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft are gaining popularity and offered even in some smaller cities. If you are unfamiliar with these services, they allow individuals to act as a taxi in their personal vehicle. Simply download the app and find a driver that is available to transport you.
The National Directory of Designated Drivers sponsored by DrinkingandDriving.org also has an app which may help you. This directory includes driving companies available by state and county. Some of these services allow you to hire personal drivers by the hour. Some services will even drive you back to your vehicle the next day after you have sobered up. Others offer “chase car” or “scooter services”.
Chase car services operate by two people coming to assist you when you drove your own vehicle to your location. One of these individuals will drive your car while the other follows to pick them up after dropping you off.
Scooter services operate by an individual coming to you by small scooter. The individual folds the scooter up into your trunk and drives your vehicle to your home.
AAA is also well known for running their “Tipsy Tow” service in many areas on holidays as well. Usually, this service allows you and a passenger to ride for free if intoxicated for up to 15 miles.
Remember, your life and the lives of others are never worth the time being slightly inconvenienced while waiting for a safe ride home. Have a happy and safe holiday season!
1 U.S. Department of Transportation. 2017. Holiday Drunk Driving Facts.
Our material is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for counseling with a qualified professional.