Drunk driving is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a driver. This deadly habit kills nearly 30 Americans every day and is the cause of almost a third of all traffic related deaths.
Driving impaired can happen faster than you might think. Drivers at every blood alcohol content level from .01 to .27 have each caused more than 200 fatal drunk driving crashes every year. And the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes is almost the same between drivers who have a .02 blood alcohol content and those with .26.
Even just a few drinks can seriously impair your driving. Alcohol can affect your driving abilities, leading to a decline in muscle control, judgement, visual functions, alertness, coordination, concentration, reaction time, and more.
Drunk driving ruins lives, hurting victims as well as drivers — if you’re lucky enough to make it home alive. DUIs typically cost about $10,000 and can cost thousands more in raised auto insurance premiums in the years following a conviction. In some cases, a DUI may become a criminal offense. You may lose your license, have to attend classes or treatment, or even spend time in prison.
Drunk driving doesn’t just happen. It’s a crime that irresponsible drivers choose to commit. It often happens when drivers don’t plan how they’ll get home from a night out. You can save lives by taking steps to avoid drunk driving, including:
- Making a commitment to never drive drunk: It may sound silly, but promising yourself you’ll never drive drunk can make a difference. Make the choice to avoid drunk driving and always find a safe way to get home.
- Plan your night out: Before you head out, you should make a plan for how you’ll get home if you’ve been drinking. That may mean leaving your car at home and taking public transportation, a cab, or Uber instead, or arranging a designated driver.
- Take turns being a designated driver: When you make plans to go out, decide ahead of time who will be responsible for getting you home safely. Take turns being the designated driver and never drink when it’s your turn to drive home.
- Use public transportation or a cab to get home: If you’ve driven to your destination, but you’ve been drinking, don’t try to drive home. Instead, leave your car where it is and ride public transportation or hire a cab or Uber to take you home. Even if it’s expensive, the cost pales in comparison to the potential expense and devastation of a DUI or drunk driving accident.