Drinking & Driving – Facts, Danger & Risks
Alcohol plays a different role in all of our lives. For many of us, it helps us to unwind at the end of a long, hard day or week; for others, it’s a social lubricant than enables us to come out of our shell; for those of us who are teetotal, alcohol can be a frustration.
However much or little you drink, though, you should never get behind the wheel of a vehicle with alcohol in your system.
As someone who’s partial to a beer now and then, it terrifies me to know just how common drink-related accidents are. My father once told me a story about having to essentially wrestle an old friend away from his car to prevent him hitting the road with far too many bottles of booze inside him.
The friend was pretty unimpressed with my father’s “interference”. In fact, he was downright furious – the two had something of a scuffle, before a third friend separated them. They went their separate ways, and my father assumed their friendship might never recover.
First thing the next morning, though, my father heard a knock at his door. Bleary-eyed and scruffy, he ventured downstairs only to find his friend on the doorstep. He was a little worse for wear, but he offered his hand and apologized for his behavior.
He also thanked my father for saving his life … and the lives of anyone else he may have struck on his inebriated drive home.
This is just one story of simple heroism between one friend and another, but there will be countless just like it out there. Despite the widespread awareness of drink driving’s dangers, though, it still occurs on a (sadly) regular basis.
How dangerous is drink-driving, and how often does it devastate lives?
Hard as it may be to believe, 28 people are killed in alcohol-related car crashes every single day in the United States.
This equates to a single death occurring every 51 minutes, and costs over $44bn each year.
If you’ve even witnessed a driver behaving erratically on the road, whom you believe to be under the influence, you’ll understand just how terrifying it can be. When you’re at the wheel, you’re not only responsible for yourself and your passengers – but everyone else too.
One single mistake, one single misjudgment, can have a devastating impact, rippling across multiple lives.
Of the 10,265 deaths occurring on roads in 2015, a staggering 29% (or one-third) were caused by drink.
Taking Responsibility for Drink Driving
Each of us is responsible to practice caution and good sense when we’re at the wheel of our cars. We have to be smart, considerate, and take whatever steps are necessary to prevent ourselves (and others) endangering others when drinking.
How can you do this?
- Always elect a designated driver when drinking with friends. Make sure whoever is chosen, even if it’s yourself, takes the responsibility seriously.
- If a friend or relative is convinced they’re able to drive, take their keys from them and try to arrange a ride for them, or call a cab.
- Know the signs of a drink driver when on the road, and report them: drunks will make wide turns, swerve, drive on the wrong side of the road, and perhaps go too fast or slow.
- Drunks will also brake erratically, and drive after dark with their headlights switched off
- If a friend is showing signs of inebriation and giving you cause for concern, suggest they spend the night at your place, or offer to call them a cab.
Towing companies know better than most how much damage drunk drivers can do, especially to their vehicles. Emergency Towing San Francisco commented: “By taking steps to prevent drunk people driving, we can all work together to make our roads safer for everyone.”
It’s a universal problem – and it requires a universal effort to solve.