Avoid Buzzed-Driving This Winter Break

Going home for the holidays can be a stressful time with your family. Everyone is adjusting to being under the same roof again and tempers can fly. One way to avoid this is by getting out of the house and spending time with your hometown friends, and if you are over 21, you might meet your friends at a bar for drinks. Or you might go to a New Years Eve party, or some other social event where alcohol is involved. We all like to cut loose and have fun around the holidays, so there’s nothing wrong with having a glass or two of your favorite alcoholic beverage (spiked egg-nog anyone?).
However, there is something really wrong with drinking and driving, even if you are just “buzzed.”
Last year, around 10,500 people in the USA died from driving accidents where there was alcohol involved. The holidays have had higher incidences of these accidents than other times of the year for a long time. So, instead of ending 2011 with a DUI or even worse, how about taking some of these safety tips to enjoy your nights out with friends and family without ending the night by driving under the influence.
1. Have a plan for getting home before you go out. It doesn’t matter what your plan is, but make a plan before you go out for the evening. If there is someone in the group who does not want to drink, then make him or her the official designated driver. If everyone wants to drink, then look for alternative options for getting home, such as public transportation or a taxi service. Many college towns have a community sober ride program, so check if your city has something like this as another way to get home safely.
2. Delegate the designated driver. If you cannot find an alternative means of transportation after the festivities are over, then you must have a designated driver. Naturally, most people do not want to be the designated driver, so it might be hard picking someone to fulfill this obligation. Fortunately, you can pick someone even if nobody has volunteered. You can draw straws, play a quick hand of cards to determine the winners and losers, or even create a schedule so that each person has to play DD at least once during the winter break.

3. If all else fails, call Mom and Dad. Hey, you are home for the holidays, and all Mom and Dad want for you is to be safe and sound. So, if it comes down to it, call them and ask for a ride home. Even if they do lecture you about drinking alcohol and partying, it’s a much better (and safer) alternative to driving home while you are under the influence.