I was just an early teen the first time I learned the harshest impacts of drinking and driving. It was the end of the school year when we found out a neighbor had been out with a friend when they rolled their Jeep. It was a long time ago and most of the details are fuzzy, but as I recall, she was thrown from the vehicle then pinned underneath when the toppled Jeep finally came to a rest. The stories were that they had been celebrating the coming of summer just a few days before graduation.
Ever since that time, I’ve always tried to find ways to discourage people from driving after they have had anything to drink. That’s hard to do because people think they are invincible or at least not impacted by “only one drink”. Unfortunately, alcohol doesn’t discriminate. People of all ages, intelligence and driving experience levels should all follow the same rule: If you consume alcohol, you will not drive.
We are in the midst of the holiday season as people everywhere celebrate Christmas or the departure of one year and the entrance of another. For some that means hanging out at home with family, neighbors and friends, but for others it means a party for work or ringing in the new year at a restaurant, bar, party or event.
It’s a time very common for people to misjudge their abilities. Inevitably, someone who has been drinking will put their keys in the ignition and plan to drive to their next destination. If that person is you, don’t. If you know that person, don’t let them. Nothing good can come from drinking and driving.
I’m not going to lecture you on this subject as I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. The purpose of this is to give you some options. First we will start with the tried and true that have been around for years:
- Designated Driver: The most obvious (and economical) solution is to have a designated driver. Feeling guilty that they aren’t “celebrating” with you? Pick up the tab for their non-alcoholic drinks and snacks, but more important, be sure to include them in all the activities!
- Limo Service: You can plan ahead of time and schedule a limo service to be on call. It may be pricey, but if you have a large group, the costs are thinned out.
- Taxi Service: Maybe your driver hadn’t planned to drink, but they decided to partake in the festivities. Take their keys and call for a taxi service.
But we’re living in the age of technology! Now there are two services that put your transportation options right at your fingertips. Car service apps! I’ve been using these when I travel to larger cities for conferences, conventions and events, but now they have even started showing up in smaller metro areas like my own! What I love about these services is that you don’t need cash or credit card for the fare AND no need to worry about cash for a tip. Download the apps in advance, set up your preferences and your credit card then you’ll be set when the time comes to call for a lift. My favorite part is that you can earn referral credits that give you free rides! Not only are there safe ride options, but also free ones. That’s win/win!
- Uber: You submit a request for a ride through the Uber app then it gives you the price you’ll be charged. If you agree, you approve it then watch on the map to see how far the driver is from your pickup location. You’ll know which car because the driver’s car information, name and license plate number are all provided in the app. You set up the tip percentage in your profile and it is automatically included in the quoted fare. No meters to worry about! Use my referral code and the first ride is free!
- Lyft: It’s just like Uber except the tip isn’t built in. At the end, you’ll be asked how much you want to give the driver then the entire amount is charged to your credit card on file. I didn’t notice any difference between the two services except that Lyft rates were a little more affordable. Use my referral code and get up to $50 in ride credits!
What I’ve discovered is that many drivers carry taxi, Uber and Lyft permits so you may end up with the same person no matter which one you hire.
No matter how or where you decide to celebrate, find a way to make sure everyone finds a safe ride home. Blessings to you and those around you for a safe and Happy New Year!
Where will you be ushering in the new year?