So you want to go out and have a good time. It has been a long week and you're looking forward to relaxing. Drinks with your friends at the local bar, dinner and a movie or maybe a ball game... Sounds good!
The designated driver is a great way to be safe when you are out and having drinks. The person who is the designated driver swears off alcohol for the event and promises to get everyone home safely. Sounds simple and easy, right? Sure, as long as the designated driver has a plan, along with the rest of the group.
First and most important, the designated driver cannot just be whoever is the least drunk! Many people are probably guilty of having “just one glass of wine or a beer” before getting behind the wheel. Depending on a number of factors, that one drink could be ‘one too many'! So make the decision on who will be the designated driver before going out, and then stick to the plan. Take turns being the designated driver on different occasions, so it is not always one person who is responsible.
It is important that the designated driver gets possession of the car keys first, before going out. This way, the designated driver won't have to get them later possibly under uncomfortable circumstances. The designated driver gets the keys first to ensure he or she is the only one equipped to drive.
The designated driver makes a commitment to stay sober for the duration. If you have a large group of people you may need to have more than one designated driver. As always, if you know you will be drinking, you want to make a plan and stick to it. Where you are going, who else is going, and how you getting there are all things to consider before heading out.
Having a designated driver doesn't mean you can go crazy and become so intoxicated you are unable to think straight. If you're totally out of control there is a very good chance you will end up in some kind of trouble that your designated driver cannot protect you from!! So play it safe and give yourself a limit on how much you are drinking too. Make sure you thank your designated driver while you're at it. Maybe paying for the gas or buying dinner, for example. It's a small amount to pay compared to the cost and embarrassment of a DUI or worse, the cost of a life.
Some people become professional designated drivers! There are of course taxis and limos. There are also party buses, shuttles, and even full-blown designated driver services out there. Don't miss our valuable tips for using these services in our "Get a Ride" lesson and our National Directory of Designated Driver Services.