Imagine it is your 21st birthday and you and a couple of friends want to go out to celebrate. You all end up going to a bar. The first thing you do is shout, “First round is on me!”
Three shots later, you are starting to feel yourself. Since it is your birthday and you are 21 now, you feel like you deserve some more drinks. Your friends decide to get another round.
At this point, it’s 1:00 a.m. and you know you have had too much to drink. You and your friends decide to call it a night. This is when you realize that there was not a designated driver: someone that would stay sober and make sure that everyone made it home safe and sound. No one is thinking straight. You all decide to get into the car and head home. Your friend driving is texting their ex about how they feel — they deserve another chance. The next thing you know they swerve off the road and hit a street lamp. The passenger receives a concussion and the car is heavily damaged. You, sitting in the backseat, get a bruised elbow and a bruised knee. The police show up and ask if anyone had their seat belt on. You and your friends are silent.
While still using your imagination plus a touch of reality, imagine the same beginning to this scenario but with a different ending. Your friend who is drunk, texting and driving all at the same time swerves and hits a car in the opposite lane. Your driver, the passenger and the driver of the other car are dead. You were blessed to only suffer a broken leg and broken nose. Though living was a blessing, you now have to explain to your friend’s parents what happened and why their young adult did not return home. This is harsh and uncomfortable: but that is often the reality of drinking and driving.
There are many ways that this incident could have been avoided, even if you are over 21 and want to go out and drink. I am going to give you some tips on how to help avoid this situation. Why should you listen to me? Well, these tips are coming from personal experiences and from stories that I was told in detail about from other party-going people.
Finding a Group to Go Out With
If you are going to attend a party, it is an important idea that you are accompanied by a group of friends. These friends should be people that won’t let you be left behind; friends that genuinely care about your well-being, and friends that want to see you come out the next weekend.
The Designated Driver (“D.D.”)
If you go out with friends to a party, at the very least one of them should have a designated driver on speed-dial ready to pick everyone up at the end of the night. Or, even better, have one of your group be the designated driver for the evening. are going to be nights when one of the group members will be assigned this position. If your group tends to go out and have fun while drinking alcohol often, rotate this position.
Uber or Lyft
If you and your friends are out, may have had too much to drink, and there is no designated driver available, there is always Uber and Lyft. These are two companies that are capable of picking you up from the bars and bringing you home safe and sound. They are always available, day or night. So, there really is no excuse for any intoxicated person getting behind the wheel when there are a handful of other safe ways of getting home.
Drinking after any amount of alcohol is dangerous. Binge drinking in particular is not a healthy or safe thing to do when going out or staying in. If you choose to drink, to avoid the binging danger, set a limit on how much you will be drinking. Consuming too much alcohol in a short period of time can lead to alcohol poisoning. By setting a limit you are respecting your body and your friends. Once you set a limit, stick to it.
(If you only plan on having three drinks, that does not mean make the ratio of alcohol to soda ridiculous. Having more of the “mixer” than the alcohol is logical way to make a mixed drink; the other way around can become dangerous.)
It is important to enjoy the time spent with friends, so put the phone down and focus on the good times.
Drinking and texting is never a good idea. In the morning you may not remember that you were the one to send your professor an embarrassing email about the awesome night you were having with friends. Make sure you have a lock on your phone. You could even give your phone to the designated driver. This way, any time you may think you need your phone, you have to go through someone who is sober and thinking straight. Let that person decide if you really need to send that text.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Every day, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This is one death every 50 minutes. The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $44 billion.” “Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with blood alcohol concentrations [BACs] of .08 of higher),” says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Drive sober or get pulled over,” is a commercial that airs quite often and it comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They have created other commercials with the same overall theme, which states that driving with any alcohol in your system is illegal and dangerous. Prevent yourself from becoming just another statistic that will be put on a website where people will go to do research for their school essay.
Going out with real friends, assigning a designated driver, setting a limit for yourself, and giving your phone to the designated driver are some solid tips that are a good way to ensure a fun and safe night out. You want to see your friends and do it all again next weekend right? If you do choose to drink, make sure you do it as responsibly as possible.