Small amounts of alcohol can affect brain functions needed to make rational decisions. That's why it's so important to arrange how you will make it home before the 1st drink is poured.
Thankfully, there are many options at your disposal:
- Have a friend or family member pick you up, call a taxi, take the bus or walk home.
- Nominate a designated driver - someone who refrains from drinking any alcohol and ensures that everyone arrives home safely - before you go out.
Why you should pick a designated driver
The decision to pick a designated driver may be the only thing keeping someone close to you from getting behind the wheel after drinking. If they do, a carefree night on the town can turn to tragedy.
On average in Saskatchewan, 734 people are injured and 49 are killed each year as a result of impaired driving. In fact, a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.10 is 50 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a driver with no blood alcohol.
Despite the well-documented risks, stopping a friend from drinking and driving isn't always easy. They may say, "I've only had a couple" or "I only live a few blocks away." As convincing as these excuses might sound, remember that driving after drinking any amount of alcohol is dangerous.
Other common excuses include:
- Coffee will sober me up. Nope. Only time can rid the body of alcohol. The caffeine in coffee cannot keep an intoxicated driver alert or restore their judgment.
- I'll drive slowly. Drinking and driving is unsafe at any speed. Slowing down makes you a hazard to drivers obeying the posted speed limit and could cause a collision.
- I ate a big meal before drinking. It will keep me sober. Full or not, you're still impaired. Food in the stomach does not prevent absorption of alcohol into the blood, it only slows it down.
- Beer is less intoxicating than hard alcohol. Wrong again. A typical 12-ounce serving of beer is just as intoxicating as an ounce of 80-proof liquor.
- I'll roll down the window or splash cold water on my face. An impaired driver can be as cold and wet as they want, but they're still an impaired driver. Only time can restore alertness, motor skills and judgement after drinking.
A Contract for Life
Stop the excuses before they start by entering a Contract for Life (pdf, 27 kb) with someone you trust. The Students Against Drinking and Driving initiative is a contract between 2 people who agree to be designated drivers for each other, anytime, anywhere - no questions asked.
With the myriad of options available, there's simply no excuse for driving after drinking. Protect yourself and those around you by always planning a safe ride home. Remember: before you drink, think.