In 2014, over 1.1 million people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. All states classify DUI convictions as misdemeanors making them punishable with up to 6 months in jail and/or and substantial fines. Getting a DUI can have drastic consequences to one’s finances, employment, relationships, and reputation. Apart from that, driving under the influence can have grave consequences for others if a crash is involved. According to the CDC, in the United States alone, 28 people die from alcohol-impaired traffic crashes every day.
Avoiding a DUI consists of more than just not getting caught. It is a conscious lifestyle choice to be a responsible citizen and to take care of yourself. DUI offenses are no joke and should be avoided at all costs. We suggest always having a plan as well as a few other ways to keep you and others safe.
Always Plan Ahead
Too often, DUIs are the result of poor planning. If you anticipate that you will be drinking, make sure to plan how you will be getting home before you start drinking. Drinking alcohol lowers one’s inhibitions and a person may believe he or she can drive a vehicle when they cannot. Plan with others and choose a designated driver, download Uber or Lyft, or know which friend lives close and would be comfortable with you crashing on their couch. Having a back-up plan in case your DD drinks or plans fall through is always suggested.
Leave your Car at Home
If you’re not planning on driving home, there’s no reason to have your car at the bar. If your vehicle is accessible to you, you will be tempted to drive it home. Alcohol impairs your ability to think clearly and you may be tempted to grab your keys. Just as we do with other things, remove the temptation for your night out and just leave your wheels at home.
Know your Blood Alcohol Content
Use a BAC calculator to identify how many drinks it would take to put you over the legal limit. Even with this information, it can be difficult to accurately calculate whether you’ve had too much to drink. Remember, the only foolproof way to prevent a DUI is to refrain from driving if you have any substances in your body. If you have any doubt about your ability, do not drive, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Ask people you trust to help hold you accountable with not driving under the influence. If you’re going out, surround yourself with friends who know your history and are willing to stand up to DUI inducing habits. Have a different friend call in and check-up with you and be back-up as a DD if needed.
Remember the Facts
Many people incorrectly believe that things like coffee, a shower, or eating a meal can help “sober them up”. Remember, the only thing that can lower your BAC is time. So, plan time into your night out, know when to switch to water or soda for the rest of the evening or just keep your drinking to a minimum during the evening.
Post written by Shaylyn Forte, LPC, CAADC