How to Avoid Drinking and Driving

As we venture into December, it’s important to remember that this month serves a significant purpose beyond the festive celebrations. December is recognized as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, a time when we stress the importance of safe, sober driving.


According to the Texas Department of Transportation, a person in Texas dies approximately every nine hours from a DUI-alcohol-related crash. However, despite the apparent risks, many people still choose to get behind the wheel after drinking. The good news is that there are ways to avoid drinking and driving.


In this post, we’ll share some tips to help you and your friends stay safe and make responsible decisions about alcohol, not only this month but every month.

Steps to Prevent Yourself from Drinking & Driving

1. Have a Designated Driver

Choosing a non-drinking designated driver is one of the best ways to avoid drinking and driving. This is someone who agrees upfront to stay sober and drive everyone home safely.


If you know you will be drinking, plan ahead to ensure you know who will be the designated driver. This could be a friend, family member, or even a ride-sharing service. Having a plan in place will make it easier to resist the urge to drive after drinking.


If you and your friends are having difficulty deciding on a designated driver, you can try a few methods. One option is to roll a dice or pick straws to determine who the designated driver will be. Alternatively, you could set up a rotation based on everyone’s birthdays, giving each person an opportunity to take on the responsibility.


Choosing someone who is reliable and committed to being a safe driver is important. Trust is crucial, as you need to be confident that they won’t give in to temptation and consume alcohol, leaving your group without a designated driver. The driver should also have a valid driver’s license and up-to-date car insurance.

2. Use Ride-Sharing Apps or Call Someone

Another viable option to avoid drinking and driving is to utilize ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. These services are usually available round the clock and can be a lifesaver when you’ve had a few too many. It’s as simple as opening the app, entering your destination, and waiting for your ride to arrive.

On the other hand, if you’re uncomfortable with ride-sharing services or they aren’t available in your area, consider contacting a friend or family member to pick you up. It’s better to inconvenience someone briefly than risk getting a DUI or, worse, causing an accident.

3. Opt for Non-Alcoholic Beverages

If you’re planning on an evening out alone, consider choosing a non-alcoholic beverage instead of alcohol. This doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to just water or soft drinks!
Many restaurants and bars offer a variety of enjoyable non-alcoholic options. From mocktails to non-alcoholic beers and wines, there are several great alternatives. Plus, you may be surprised and discover some great new flavors!
The same rules apply when you are out with a group—do not feel obligated to consume alcohol.
Peer pressure can often make people feel like they need to drink to fit in, but this is not the case. Everyone has the right to make their own decisions about alcohol, and choosing not to drink should be respected just as much as choosing to drink.

4. Stay the Night

If your celebration involves heavy drinking and it’s difficult for you to get a ride home, consider staying overnight if the party is at a close family or friend’s house.
This option, of course, requires prior planning and the consent of the party host. But it’s a great way to ensure safety as it completely eliminates the risk of drunk driving.
Just make sure to pack some essentials like a change of clothes, toiletries, and any medications you may need!

5. Avoid Riding with Intoxicated Drivers

While your focus is often on not driving after you’ve been drinking, it’s equally important not to get into a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking. Alcohol impairs judgment, reaction time, and motor coordination, which are crucial for safe driving.

Even if the person seems to be handling their alcohol well, remember that appearances can be deceiving. Alcohol affects people differently, and some may not show signs of impairment until it’s too late. Always err on the side of caution!

If you find yourself in a situation where the driver has been drinking, consider alternatives, as listed above, such as calling an Uber or a friend. Remember that the goal is not just to avoid driving while impaired but also to ensure you are not a passenger in a vehicle with an intoxicated driver.

6. Stay on Top of Your Self-Care

It’s much easier to make good decisions when your mind and body are well-cared for. Adequate sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise can help keep you alert and focused.
Additionally, if you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or stressed, it’s important to seek help. Mental health conditions can impair judgment, making it more difficult to resist the temptation to drink and drive.

7. Take Responsibility for Your Actions

Ultimately, the decision not to drink and drive is up to you. Regardless of how much you’ve had to drink, it’s important to take responsibility for your actions. If you’re impaired, find a safe way home; if you cannot, call a friend or family member who can help.
Avoiding drinking and driving is not only a legal and ethical responsibility but also a moral one. By making the commitment to never drink and drive, you can help keep yourself and others safe.

Steps to Prevent Your Friends from Drinking & Driving

1. Educate Them About the Dangers

Make sure your friends understand the risks associated with drinking and driving. Share statistics, personal stories, or news articles that highlight the severe consequences of impaired driving.
Let them know about the driving laws in Texas, such as the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08 percent and the DUI penalties. For example, for a first offense, drivers may receive a fine of up to $2,000, up to 180 days in jail if convicted, and a loss of their driver’s license for up to a year.
Knowledge is power and might make them think twice before getting behind the wheel.

2. Take Away Their Keys

This step can feel like a confrontational one, but remember that it’s being done out of care, concern, and a desire for everyone’s safety. If your friend has had too much to drink and is insisting on driving, politely but firmly take their car keys. Explain to them why you’re doing it—that it’s not a judgment but a precaution.
It may be helpful to have a backup plan ready, such as a ride-sharing app installed on your phone. You could also offer to let them stay at your place or help arrange accommodations elsewhere.
Remember, it’s always better to deal with a moment of awkwardness or a temporary disagreement than to risk a lifetime of regret from a potential accident or tragedy.

3. Lead by Example

Leading by example is one of the most effective ways to influence the behavior of those around you. When you opt for responsible drinking habits, you are showing your friends that it’s possible to have a fun and fulfilling time without overindulging in alcohol.

Regularly volunteer to be the designated driver. This action not only ensures your safety but also demonstrates your commitment to the welfare of your friends.

4. Offer Alternative Forms of Transportation

Encourage using ride-sharing services, public transportation, or a designated driver. Friends are likelier to choose these safer options if they know they’re available and convenient.

The key is to make the alternatives easily accessible and user-friendly. If the safer option is also the easier one, it’s more likely your friends will opt for it, reducing the likelihood of anyone getting behind the wheel after drinking.

5. Offer Non-Alcoholic Options

Another effective strategy to prevent your friends from drinking and driving is to provide enticing non-alcoholic options at social gatherings. This is particularly useful for those who feel a certain social pressure to hold a drink during these events.

Providing a range of delicious mocktails, alcohol-free beers, and other non-alcoholic beverages can help those who are driving or simply choosing not to drink feel included without the risks associated with alcohol.

Drinking and driving is a serious issue that can have life-altering consequences. However, by taking steps to avoid drinking and driving, you can do your part to keep the roads safe!