Keeping a Friend from Driving Under the Influence

Reviewed Aug 31, 2017

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Summary

  • Choose a designated driver.
  • Serve food with alcohol.
  • Take keys from impaired guests.

Thirty-one percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States each year are alcohol related. In spite of this fact, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, particularly around the holidays, continues to plague our nation.

When sober and thinking rationally, nearly everyone agrees that no one should ever drive while impaired. The problem is that the decisions about whether or not to drive are often made by revelers after they have had too much to drink. Alcohol, like all other drugs of potential overuse, fools the brain by creating a false sense of confidence and control. Studies show that even occasional drinkers routinely overestimate their ability to drive and perform complex motor functions. Unfortunately, this poor judgment costs thousands of lives each year.
 
What you can do to prevent impaired driving

  • If you or your friends are going out and plan to use alcohol, decide in advance who will be the designated driver. Agree in advance that driving under the influence is not an option.
  • If you are hosting a party where alcohol or drugs are present, collect car keys from your friends who drink or use drugs. That way, when they are ready to leave, they must get a second opinion on whether they're sober enough to drive home.
  • Make your guests feel comfortable choosing not to partake in anything that impairs or distorts judgment. You can do this by presenting nonalcoholic drinks in a prominent, easily accessible place and by asking them what they would like to drink instead of pointing them to the bar or handing them an alcoholic drink when they arrive.
  • Always serve food with alcohol. High-protein and complex-carbohydrate foods like cheese and meats are best because they stay in the stomach longer, thus slowing the rate at which the body absorbs alcohol.
  • Stop serving alcohol about 2 hours before the party is over. Guests then have time for their bodies to metabolize the alcohol.

When the party's over

If one of your guests is impaired, you cannot let her drive because she could hurt or even kill herself or others. This can be a difficult situation and may even cause a scene.

Try these suggestions:

  • Be proactive. If you notice that a guest is impaired, try to make arrangements to get him home before the party ends.
  • Stay calm. Don’t argue or shout. If your intoxicated guest becomes belligerent, change the subject or distract her. This will buy you some time to come up with another approach. You don’t want her storming away mad, especially with her car keys in hand.
  • Call a family member or friend to come and get him—preferably before the party ends.
  • Suggest that you or a sober friend drive him home and you will arrange to get his car back to him the next day.
  • Offer to let the impaired guest stay overnight. This may sound inconvenient, but you could be saving a life.
  • Arrange for a taxi and, if necessary, pay the fare. It's hard to object to a free ride.
  • If all else fails, tell her you will call the police if she tries to drive. It’s far better than calling the ambulance.

Remember that drunk driving kills thousands of people per year. Don’t let this happen to someone you know.

By Drew Edwards, MS, EdD
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Injury Prevention and Control: Motor Vehicle and Safety.” http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

Summary

  • Choose a designated driver.
  • Serve food with alcohol.
  • Take keys from impaired guests.

Thirty-one percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States each year are alcohol related. In spite of this fact, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, particularly around the holidays, continues to plague our nation.

When sober and thinking rationally, nearly everyone agrees that no one should ever drive while impaired. The problem is that the decisions about whether or not to drive are often made by revelers after they have had too much to drink. Alcohol, like all other drugs of potential overuse, fools the brain by creating a false sense of confidence and control. Studies show that even occasional drinkers routinely overestimate their ability to drive and perform complex motor functions. Unfortunately, this poor judgment costs thousands of lives each year.
 
What you can do to prevent impaired driving

  • If you or your friends are going out and plan to use alcohol, decide in advance who will be the designated driver. Agree in advance that driving under the influence is not an option.
  • If you are hosting a party where alcohol or drugs are present, collect car keys from your friends who drink or use drugs. That way, when they are ready to leave, they must get a second opinion on whether they're sober enough to drive home.
  • Make your guests feel comfortable choosing not to partake in anything that impairs or distorts judgment. You can do this by presenting nonalcoholic drinks in a prominent, easily accessible place and by asking them what they would like to drink instead of pointing them to the bar or handing them an alcoholic drink when they arrive.
  • Always serve food with alcohol. High-protein and complex-carbohydrate foods like cheese and meats are best because they stay in the stomach longer, thus slowing the rate at which the body absorbs alcohol.
  • Stop serving alcohol about 2 hours before the party is over. Guests then have time for their bodies to metabolize the alcohol.

When the party's over

If one of your guests is impaired, you cannot let her drive because she could hurt or even kill herself or others. This can be a difficult situation and may even cause a scene.

Try these suggestions:

  • Be proactive. If you notice that a guest is impaired, try to make arrangements to get him home before the party ends.
  • Stay calm. Don’t argue or shout. If your intoxicated guest becomes belligerent, change the subject or distract her. This will buy you some time to come up with another approach. You don’t want her storming away mad, especially with her car keys in hand.
  • Call a family member or friend to come and get him—preferably before the party ends.
  • Suggest that you or a sober friend drive him home and you will arrange to get his car back to him the next day.
  • Offer to let the impaired guest stay overnight. This may sound inconvenient, but you could be saving a life.
  • Arrange for a taxi and, if necessary, pay the fare. It's hard to object to a free ride.
  • If all else fails, tell her you will call the police if she tries to drive. It’s far better than calling the ambulance.

Remember that drunk driving kills thousands of people per year. Don’t let this happen to someone you know.

By Drew Edwards, MS, EdD
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Injury Prevention and Control: Motor Vehicle and Safety.” http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

Summary

  • Choose a designated driver.
  • Serve food with alcohol.
  • Take keys from impaired guests.

Thirty-one percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States each year are alcohol related. In spite of this fact, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, particularly around the holidays, continues to plague our nation.

When sober and thinking rationally, nearly everyone agrees that no one should ever drive while impaired. The problem is that the decisions about whether or not to drive are often made by revelers after they have had too much to drink. Alcohol, like all other drugs of potential overuse, fools the brain by creating a false sense of confidence and control. Studies show that even occasional drinkers routinely overestimate their ability to drive and perform complex motor functions. Unfortunately, this poor judgment costs thousands of lives each year.
 
What you can do to prevent impaired driving

  • If you or your friends are going out and plan to use alcohol, decide in advance who will be the designated driver. Agree in advance that driving under the influence is not an option.
  • If you are hosting a party where alcohol or drugs are present, collect car keys from your friends who drink or use drugs. That way, when they are ready to leave, they must get a second opinion on whether they're sober enough to drive home.
  • Make your guests feel comfortable choosing not to partake in anything that impairs or distorts judgment. You can do this by presenting nonalcoholic drinks in a prominent, easily accessible place and by asking them what they would like to drink instead of pointing them to the bar or handing them an alcoholic drink when they arrive.
  • Always serve food with alcohol. High-protein and complex-carbohydrate foods like cheese and meats are best because they stay in the stomach longer, thus slowing the rate at which the body absorbs alcohol.
  • Stop serving alcohol about 2 hours before the party is over. Guests then have time for their bodies to metabolize the alcohol.

When the party's over

If one of your guests is impaired, you cannot let her drive because she could hurt or even kill herself or others. This can be a difficult situation and may even cause a scene.

Try these suggestions:

  • Be proactive. If you notice that a guest is impaired, try to make arrangements to get him home before the party ends.
  • Stay calm. Don’t argue or shout. If your intoxicated guest becomes belligerent, change the subject or distract her. This will buy you some time to come up with another approach. You don’t want her storming away mad, especially with her car keys in hand.
  • Call a family member or friend to come and get him—preferably before the party ends.
  • Suggest that you or a sober friend drive him home and you will arrange to get his car back to him the next day.
  • Offer to let the impaired guest stay overnight. This may sound inconvenient, but you could be saving a life.
  • Arrange for a taxi and, if necessary, pay the fare. It's hard to object to a free ride.
  • If all else fails, tell her you will call the police if she tries to drive. It’s far better than calling the ambulance.

Remember that drunk driving kills thousands of people per year. Don’t let this happen to someone you know.

By Drew Edwards, MS, EdD
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Injury Prevention and Control: Motor Vehicle and Safety.” http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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