As we head into the winter season, thoughts turn to frivolity, festivity, and seeing family and friends. Parties are a significant part of the holidays, but they also can be the prime scene for too much imbibing. Knowing how to prevent drunk driving is the key to celebrating safely.
At Lake Region Insurance Agency, our job is to help you protect you and your loved ones. Through comprehensive insurance policies, we offer you the coverage you need for peace of mind. And we encourage you to stay safe this holiday season by following these crucial tips.
An Urgent Crisis
Recent statistics show that there are over 10,000 fatalities caused by drunk driving each year. More than 10,000 families each year experience this horrific loss. As well as earning you a criminal record, drunk driving can cause untold heartbreak and devastation.
What Counts As Drunk Driving?
In the state of Minnesota, as in most other states across America, a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or above constitutes drunk driving. If a driver is younger than 21, there is no tolerance at all. If you are not yet 21 and are driving with any alcohol in your system, it will count as a drunk driving incident.
Different places use varied terminology to mean the same thing:
- Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Impaired – DWI
- Driving Under the Influence – DUI
- Impaired Driving
No matter what your state calls it, these are all phrases that mean driving drunk. And they all lead to significant trouble.
What Are the Consequences of Driving While Impaired?
With someone dying every 50 minutes as a result of drunk driving, the primary consequences are self-explanatory. When you drink, your cognitive ability and response times become significantly compromised. You become a hazard behind the wheel.
As well as the moral and safety issues, the legal ramifications of drinking and driving can be life-altering. You could lose your license for a while or even permanently.
This loss will have a significant impact on your daily life since you’ll lose a lot of freedom and flexibility when you can’t drive. Most drivers find themselves with very high insurance rates following a conviction if they can get insurance at all.
In addition, a conviction will likely come with fines and maybe even a jail sentence. And it could cost you your job and future employment prospects. Professional and personal damage to your reputation is also a likely consequence.
How Do I Know If Someone Is Driving Drunk?
The truth is that you cannot always tell if a driver is impaired. But there are a few warning signs that can alert you to a problem. If you see any of these while on the road, call the police to report it:
- A driver who is drifting, weaving, or making overly wide turns
- A driver who narrowly misses another vehicle
- A driver on the wrong side of the road
- A driver with very delayed responses at stop signs or stop lights
If you are riding in a car, and your driver is exhibiting any signs of impairment, ask them to pull over. Get out right away to keep yourself safe.
How Can I Prevent Drunk Driving?
Impaired drivers rarely recognize that they shouldn’t be driving. Alcohol naturally reduces inhibitions and hinders decision-making. So to prevent drunk driving, the key is to act and plan before anyone has a drink.
- Always name a designated driver. One of the best ways to prevent drunk driving is to plan who will be the sober driver. Do this before heading out on the town. By having a designated driver selected well in advance, you avoid the temptation to drive at the end of the night. Instead, the plan is already in place, and everyone knows their role.
- Plan to use a ride-sharing service. If you know you plan to imbibe, don’t take your vehicle out at all. Instead, use a ride-sharing service from door to door so that there is no chance for you to consider driving once you are drinking.
- Protect those around you. If you see someone who was drinking head for their car, you need to take action. Take their keys from them if necessary to help ensure that they do not drive away. They may be angry right then, but it is better than the alternative. Never get into a vehicle with anyone who has been drinking. Refusing to ride with them not only protects you, but it also can make them reconsider their ability to drive.
- Always report your suspicions. If you suspect there is a drunk driver on the road, call the police. Provide as much information as possible, including location, travel direction, car make and color, and license plate number.
- Offer alcohol-free options. If you are hosting a party, you can do your part to reduce the risks and help prevent drunk driving. Ensure that there are plenty of alcohol-free options to help your guests make the right decision and stay safe. Have space available for people to sleep if needed.
- Pay attention to other dangers. Alcohol isn’t the only substance that impairs drivers. Marijuana is legal in many states, and driving under its influence is just as dangerous and illegal.
Lake Region Insurance Agency Works to Keep You Safe
Here at Lake Region Insurance Agency, we want to help you stay safe on the roads. Drinking and driving can have serious, life-altering consequences, so please be careful this holiday season.
We also want to help protect you by offering a wide range of insurance policies to cover you, your family, and your belongings. Our independent agents work in Cokato, Wilmar, and New London, MN. Call or stop in to see us for a free insurance review.
Enjoy your holiday season safely and securely. No celebration is worth risking your life or someone else’s. Make a plan, pay attention, and get home safe.