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We all know that drinking alcohol is illegal for people under 21, and that regardless of age no one is allowed to drive under the influence of alcohol. But these two laws are being broken more often than we could imagine.
According to CDC statistics, 1 out of 10 high school students, and about half of drivers under 30 years old, admit to drinking and driving.
Drunk driving is not just illegal, it is extremely dangerous. But the majority of people who consume alcohol or drugs and get behind the wheel deny they are committing a crime.
The fact is that even small amounts of alcohol may impair driving ability: alcohol alters your mood and causes relaxation and loss of judgment. This can cause a decline in visual functions and decrease your ability to perform two tasks at the same time. Alcohol negatively affects visual perception, reaction time, and information processing, reducing your coordination as a result.
Drinking and driving is a hazardous combination. Avoid devastating consequences: prevent your friends and classmates from driving drunk. You can!
First of all, remember that only time can sober you up from drug or alcohol intoxication. Tricks with cold showers, coffee, or fresh air don’t reduce your BAC (blood alcohol concentration).
- If your friend is getting behind the wheel buzzed or drunk, talk to him or her about it.
- If it is a close friend, speak to him or her privately and suggest that he or she let someone else drive or take a cab or bus.
- If possible, do not embarrass the person or be confrontational. Speak calmly and softly.
- Politely but firmly tell your friend you cannot let him or her drive home because you care. It’s tough to speak up, but your courage could save your friend’s life or that of an innocent victim.
- Have your friend sleep over at the party.
- Call a cab or call your parents for a ride. Your parents probably won’t be thrilled about the situation at first, but they will get over it and be proud of you for making the responsible decision later.
- Take the car keys away. Here are tips on getting keys from a drunk person. It can be a tough task, since most drunk people are sure that their driving will be fine and might refuse to hand over the keys. There are 2 things you can do here:
- Talk, explain, and try to convince your friend that it would be safer for everyone if you have the car keys for a while.
- If your friend still insists on driving, just find the car keys while your stubborn, buzzed friend is distracted and keep them away. It might sound funny and not really fair, but your friend’s safety is worth it. He or she will won’t be able to take further action until getting sober.
Whatever strategy you choose, do not give up on it! People tend to be rock-ribbed in their ideas, especially drunk people. But research shows that 75% of drunk people made the decision not to drive because of their friend’s persuasion.
Be a true friend, and don’t forget that by speaking up you can save lives.