Summer is coming up - and with the better weather comes garden parties and barbecues, which can all result in you having a few more drinks than you intended. If you’re a while from home, you might be tempted to get behind the wheel – however, even if you’ve only had a ‘few’, you’re still a danger on the road. If you’re heading out to a big party this summer, make sure you avoid drinking and driving to keep yourself and those around you safe. We’ve compiled these tips to show you ways you can avoid driving under the influence – and why it’s so important to stay away from the wheel if you’ve had alcohol.
Why shouldn’t I drink and drive?
Drinking and driving can seem like a good idea when you’re drunk, but even the smallest amounts of alcohol affects reaction times and can cause blurred or double vision, which poses a huge risk when you’re behind the wheel. Even you choose to drink-drive, you run the risk of causing an accident, which can leave you with a smashed-up car and a hefty insurance claim to deal with. And it’s not just your car that might be damaged - over 200 people are killed in drink-driving accidents a year, with even more being injured. It only takes one mistake to put you or someone else in danger on the road – which is why drink-driving is always discouraged. As well as dangerous, drink-driving is also illegal. If you are caught drink-driving, you will face a ban of at least 12 months and you could be fined up to £5000. Not only that, you could receive anywhere between 3 and 11 points on your license if you are found to be above the legal limit. If you’re caught more than once in 10 years, you could face a 3-year ban from driving.
The decision between losing your license or spending £20 on a taxi seems like a simple choice to make, but drink driving still remains a big problem throughout the country – so make sure you don’t ruin your summer by taking the wheel under the influence.
How can I avoid drink-driving?
Luckily, it’s easy to avoid drink-driving. The tips we’ve put together are simple – and they can be the difference between having an enjoyable night out or ending it in a dangerous accident.
1. Arrange for someone to be the designated driver
If you’re planning a night out where you know there’s going to be alcohol, plan ahead and designate someone to drive. This might be a friend who chooses not to drink, or even asking for a lift from a parent at the end of the night. If you have a group of friends you go out with regularly, you might want to consider taking it in turns to be the designated driver, meaning you’ll always have at least one person suitable to drive every time you go out.
2. Use public transport
Buses, trains and taxis are great – and often cheap - ways of getting home without having to drive. Make sure you know the timetable so that you don’t miss the last bus or train, and make sure you have some cash and a local taxi number to hand if you’re going to get a taxi home. If there are a few of you going the same way, this will make taxis even cheaper if you split the bill, meaning you get home safely without paying a fortune.
3. Stick to non-alcoholic
You might think you can’t celebrate if you’re not drinking alcohol – but it is still possible to have fun without it. Many companies now produce soft-drinks that are just as delicious as your favourite alcoholic tipple, and will save you the hangover the next morning. Try having zero-alcohol beer or mocktails to make you feel like you’re joining in, without compromising your safety when you have to drive home.
4. Alcohol-free nights out
While alcohol can make up a large part of a night-out, it doesn’t have to be. It’s easy to have fun and spend time with friends while staying sober. Try going for a meal, to the cinema or some interesting new group activity you haven’t tried yet instead of going to a bar. That way, you’ll avoid the temptation of having a drink – and will probably have a great time!
5. Avoid peer pressure
Peer pressure is one of the biggest driving factors that causes young people to drink-drive. If someone challenges you at a party or tries to persuade you to have a drink, explain to them your reasons for staying sober – and if they carry on, ignore them. You might want to please your friends, but remember that they won’t be the ones dealing with the consequences if you’re caught behind the wheel – so don’t let them determine your decisions.
Remember, drink-driving is never a good idea, even if you think you’re sober enough to drive. Stay safe by avoiding taking the wheel while drunk – a few drinks isn’t worth losing your licence or causing an accident.