My Aunt Connie was only 15 years old when she was killed by a drunk driver; she was riding her bike to a friend's house and a woman, under the influence, hit her and kept driving. Aunt Connie was killed before her sophomore year of high school and never got to grow up and live her life. That day, the world lost a loving daughter, sister, cousin, granddaughter, student and she would've one day been my aunt if I had gotten the chance to meet her. My Aunt Connie didn't deserve that horrific accident, and neither do the countless others that are impacted by the reckless endangerment caused by others.
It's tragedies like this that happen every single day, all around the country. Every day, 29 people in the United States die in car crashes involving a driver under the influence of alcohol; this means there is one death every 50 minutes. If this number seems high to you, that's because it is... one death is too many.
The culture of drunk driving is a large part of the high school and college environment, whether it directly presents itself to the public or not. A lot of these intoxicated teens also think they are invincible, and decide to get in a car and go home after the party. I just want to make it clear that it is NOT cute or cool that you drink and drive. It's NOT nice of you to offer all your drunk friends a ride home when you're also drunk. And it sure as hell is NOT impressive if you actually make it home alive after drunk driving.
When you decide to get in a car after you've been drinking, even if it's just a beer or two, you make the decision to put everyone else around you in danger. Please think twice before you do, think about all of those that could be affected by your decision. It's not just you who could face an impact — it could be your best friends, your parents, your siblings, a stranger, a stranger's loved ones.
This being said, don't be afraid to ask for help. If you're drunk and need a ride home, call an Uber, call a sober friend at home, even call your mom. Your parents would much rather take the time to drive to pick you up than have to drive to the police station after you're dead. It's better to risk getting grounded for a week than have them be heartbroken for the rest of their lives.
And one last tip: figure out the designated driver before you go to the party. It's way less confusing, and there's no chance that you'll be getting into an unsafe car at the end of the night. My friends and I worked out a system to switch off being DD, and it works perfectly.
Even if you're not planning on driving home, it's up to you to still keep an eye out on those around you. I can't count the number of times I've been the bad guy in a situation for taking my friends' keys away from them. If you're in that situation, be the bad guy. Take their keys, call them an uber, make them spend the night, call their mom; do whatever you have to do to make sure they are safe and so is everyone else on the roads. I would much rather be the bad guy for a night than have a dead friend.
So please, if you've gotten anything from this article, please just remember one thing: no drink is worth a life.