2000 lives lost. 2000 teens. 2000 times when a DD could’ve saved a life. Each year, 2000 teens die from alcohol-related car crashes. As a generation, we can fix this problem and lower that number. Drinking and driving isn’t an achievement, it’s not a challenge, and it doesn’t ever need to happen. There are so many ways to keep your friends and yourself safe from drunk-driving.
Plan Your Rides! As Milan, a teen party-goer explains, one of the main excuses for drinking and driving is that “they already drove [to the party] and that they don’t have a way to get their car back in the morning. Or they don’t have a ride back home.” This can be solved so many ways. One is of course a designated driver. This is someone who agrees at the beginning of the night that they won’t drink and they will drive their friends who are drinking to their destinations. As a friend group, a great way to set this up is to just rotate who is DD. It’s a simple solution to drinking and driving that can be fair for everyone in the end. DD’s must ask themselves if they’d rather break their promise for one night of fun and be the reason their friends get in a car crash, or if one night of sobriety overcomes the former. Another way to plan rides is to download apps like Uber and Lyft. You can take one there and back and have almost guaranteed safety. Planning rides takes two minutes and could save a life.
Look out for your friends! A good friend doesn’t let their friends get drunk and get behind the wheel. Stick together with your friends at big parties and make sure you don’t see anyone under the influence grab for their keys. Check on your friends throughout the night to see that they stay safe. This is especially important for girls, as we all know being a girl in any situation, especially one where people are drinking, can be dangerous. Milan explains another reason she sees for drinking and driving, people “… lose sight of their friends going off and driving drunk.” A way to fix this is ask one friend to not drink that night, and have them look out for their group, kind of like a designated mom. This is a solution that shouldn’t even have to be explained, but we all know that we can be selfish and at times we all just want to party. Talk to your friends about being more responsible.
Take the keys! As a host, this is a solution that eliminates any possibility of drinking and driving. As people walk into your party, ask them to put their keys in a bowl, just make sure you’re the only one that has access to it! You can put sticky notes for people to write their name on their keys if you feel the need. At the end of the party, only give keys back to sober people. A good idea is to have two people giving back keys so you have someone to back you up for drunk people that think they’re okay to drive. For these people, stay calm and give them options to call an uber, lyft, or cab, or to spend the night. Remember that you’re not only protecting their life, but also the lives of all the other innocent people on the road. Being a host includes decisions like this.
More than ever in this world full of unexpected dangers, we have to do our part to help each other out. Don’t just look out for your friends! If you see someone behind the wheel that shouldn’t be, stop them. If you turn the other way, you could be putting multiple lives in danger. Party hard, but remember, drinking and driving? Not cute.