In 2019, over 1 million people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Driving under the influence (DUI) arrests are all too common— and, they’re preventable.
In this article we’ll give you tips that are tried and true so you can prevent a DUI at night.
The consequences of a DUI
All states classify DUI convictions as misdemeanors, making them punishable with up to six months in jail, substantial fines or both. That’s just the start of the consequences for a DUI, though. Being charged can lead to a host of repercussions, spanning from shattered relationships and a permanent reputation, to overwhelming anxiety and job loss.
A DUI that results in the death of a person has even intense consequences. Sadly, this outcome is not uncommon. The United States Department of Transportation estimates 28 people die from drunk-driving related accidents every single day.
Preventing a DUI is more than just avoiding getting caught driving under the influence. It’s a lifestyle choice that requires self-disciple, advanced planning and taking care of yourself. A DUI is no joke, and choosing to prioritize substances over your own life and the lives of others is a decision you’ll be paying for for decades to come.
Thankfully, when you are diligent and take precautions to prevent a DUI at night, you can ease your mind and drive sober without fear. Here are the best tips to keep in mind to avoid a DUI.
1. Plan ahead
Too often, DUIs can be avoided with some advanced planning. Taking stock of an upcoming event can clue you in to whether there will be alcohol or drugs, and you can make the important whether to attend, who to attend with and who will be driving at the end of the night.
It’s worth the conversation beforehand to prevent a DUI. Choose a designated driver among your friends or take advantage of ride sharing options, like Uber or Lyft. It’s essential that you determine the plan well in advance of the event itself, since drinking lowers inhibition, and people are prone to thinking they are capable of driving when they’re much beyond that point.
Don’t let the false overconfidence of alcohol interfere with your plans— stick to the agenda that you decided on earlier in the night. Worst case scenario: spend the night crashing on someone’s couch.
2. Have a back-up plan
We’ve all had experiences when our friends are less dependable than we would like. Maybe you show up to the event and your designated driver can’t resist the temptation, or your friend leaves with someone else. In these events, it’s important to have someone in your sober network who you can depend on.
Asking for a favor can feel awkward, especially if you don’t like feeling indebted to someone. In these situations we make excuses like “I don’t want to wake them up,” or “they’re probably busy.” Bothering a sober friend or family member for a ride can surely feel like an inconvenience, but don’t let this fear keep you from making a disastrous mistake.
Repaying the favor will be much less trouble than handling a DUI. Make the smart choice and call up someone dependable.
3. Troubleshoot for drinking errors
One of the best ways to prevent a DUI is to put up barriers for yourself when you’re drinking. You’ll eliminate any danger of driving if you leave your car at home or give your keys to a trustworthy friend once you’ve made it to the event.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends installing an ignition interlock device in your car, which requires a breathalyzer test ever time you start your car. While these are often mandated after a first DUI offense, they can also be purchased as preventative measure.
4. Know your limits
Understanding the math behind blood alcohol content (BAC) and your own tolerance when it comes to drinking can help prevent a DUI at night. Use a BAC calculator online to determine how many drinks would put you over the legal limit (.08%). Keep in mind that a closer time frame will impact a person differently than drinking over a long span of time.
Other factors that influence your BAC include how recently you’ve eaten, your body size, how frequently you drink and the types of drinks you consume (wine, beer, liquor and so on). While .08 percent is the legal limit, don’t push it. It’s best to play it safe and refrain from driving with any alcohol in your system.
In some states, you can be charged with a DUI even if you are under the legal limit. In fact, there are some laws that allow DUIs to be charged for driving drowsy! If your driving is impact in any way by even the slightest amount of drugs or alcohol, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
5. Don’t rush it
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. Plan you night so you’re not caught in a tricky spot. Plan ahead, limit your drinking and call up a friend if you’re stuck.
6. Get treatment
While deciding on a DD is an occasional task for some, if you’re looking for a DD every week it might be a sign of a bigger problem. If you feel the need to drink in order to feel like yourself, you may be struggling with an addiction.
Nip the issue in the bud, and get help with Rehab After Work. Flexible and convenient programming allows you to continue with school, work and family life as normal so you don’t have to sacrifice what’s important as you work to get clean for good. Get in touch now.