Every year, thousands of people are injured or killed due to drunk driving. Although certain laws have been made on state and federal levels to reduce the impact of drinking and driving, it is still a prevalent issue throughout the U.S., especially around holidays.
With a new year beginning, people may be tempted to go out and drink. But you need to take the proper precautions to avoid getting behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking—or to avoid getting in the car with a drunk driver.
The Consequences Of Drinking and Driving
There are many severe repercussions for drinking and driving. The obvious and most important repercussion is that you could cause harm to yourself and others—even fatally. After such an accident, your license will generally be suspended, and you will be taken to jail and later to court. Specific repercussions vary state by state, but most include license suspension, vehicle impoundment and jail time.
These accidents don’t just go away, either. After a DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated), the incident will remain on your driving record for around 10 years. This means that repercussions can last this long, as well, such as higher car insurance rates.
How Does A DUI Or DWI Affect Car Insurance?
A DUI or DWI can have a large affect on your car insurance rates for as long as the violation is on your record. Depending on the situation of the DUI, you could see an 80% raise or higher in your car insurance premiums.
It can also make it difficult to obtain car insurance in the future. Insurance providers can deny coverage or drop policies if a driver presents too much risk. This includes if a current client gets a DUI or if a potential client has a DUI on their record. If you get a DUI, you could have trouble finding an affordable auto insurance policy afterward.
How To Avoid Drinking And Driving
If you know that you are going out and may drink, have a plan in place. This includes a designated driver, even if it is through Uber, Lyft or another rideshare company. It can help to know how much you plan on drinking, as well, so that you can keep yourself (or others can keep you) accountable for stopping when you’ve had enough to drink. Know how much you want to drink, where you are going and how long you want to stay out. Staying out later can increase the risk of running into other drunk drivers on the road.
Get A Ride There And Back
Along with planning, you should make sure not to drive wherever you are going. Leaving your keys at home can ensure that you do not choose to drive home as a last resort. If you do decide to take your keys, such as if they are attached to your house keys, you should consider entrusting them to your designated driver or someone with you who is not drinking.
Drink In Moderation
As is usually recommended, try to drink responsibly and in moderation. Drinking too much can cause more issues than simply drunk driving, so keep in mind how much you’ve been drinking and avoid bar hopping. If you’re staying in one place, your bartender or server can keep track of how much you have had to drink.
This ties into knowing your limits. It is important to know the alcohol content of what you are drinking so that you can remain under the legal limit.
Drinking on its own without food is spells disaster. Drink slowly and eat food in between so that you are not drinking on an empty stomach, as this can increase your intoxication quicker.
Have An App Downloaded
If you do want to use a rideshare service, make it easy on yourself. Download an app like Uber or Lyft and attach a payment card to it so that you can get a ride even if you don’t have cash.
Ask Your Bartender
Bartenders and restaurants are generally reliable for their patrons when it comes to overserving. This means that many restaurants and bars offer to call cabs or cover driving fares for their patrons. If you do not have a designated driver or are separated from your group, you can ask a bartender or someone else working at the restaurant to order a cab for you.
No matter what, be sure to drink responsibly and avoid driving if you feel even a little unfit to drive. It is crucial to keep everyone on the roads safe at all times.