While driving home last night, I was listening to Connecticut Radio 104.1, per usual. The radio personality said that on Saint Patrick's Day, incidents of drunk driving spike 50%, especially because this year, Saint Patrick's Day fell on a Friday. He encouraged listeners not to drink and drive, because not only do you endanger yourself when you do so, you endanger everyone else, including him, his children, family, and friends.

We've all heard the slogans: drive sober or get pulled over, don't be a statistic, buzzed driving is drunk driving, etc. The best one I've heard, though, is friends don't let friends drive drunk.

Every 53 minutes, someone dies from a drunk driving accident. Not only could that be you, it could be one of your loved ones. Use these tips to avoid drunk driving at all costs.

1. Purchase your alcohol while sober.

If you are already drinking when you decide you didn't buy enough alcohol for the night, you may feel tempted to get in your car and drive to the liquor store. Don't do it. Buy your alcohol during the day completely sober, and once you've bought it, you're not going back again that day.

2. Download Uber.

Set up an Uber account on your phone before a night of drinking. Download the app from the app store, and provide your credit card information so that if you need to request an Uber ride, you will be all set to go. If you don't want to use Uber, look up local taxi services and save some of their phone numbers to your contacts.

3. Assign a designated driver.

Appoint someone trustworthy and responsible in your group of friends to be the designated driver (DD). Either use a straw pull to determine the driver, or use the volunteer system, so that everyone gets a turn being the DD. If no one steps up to be the DD, be the responsible one and do it yourself. You'd rather miss out on a night of drinking than see one of your friends get seriously injured or die.

4. Exchange phone numbers.

Everyone in the group, including the DD, should all exchange phone numbers in case you guys get separated at a party or bar, and to make sure you all leave together.

5. Charge your phone.

You don't want to get separated from your DD with no way to contact them.

6. Seize the keys.

Not only does drunk driving endanger your life and everyone else's on the roads, it's illegal, and you can be arrested for it and even lose your driver's license.

Have everyone who is not the DD, and will be drinking, place their car keys into a cup and hide them away in a cabinet or closet. This way, no one, while drunk, has access to a vehicle. The only person who should keep their car keys is the DD.

7. Do not allow the DD to drink.

Whether you or someone else is the DD, make sure that person does not drink. If they are responsible, however, they will not in the first place. Remember, they're the ones with the car keys. If the DD does drink, have a backup plan: use Uber or public transportation to get home.

8. Stay where you are.

If possible, stay the night where you are to avoid drunk driving. If at a friend's house for a party, you can always try to sleep there for the night, or, if at a bar, walk with friends to a nearby motel for the night.

9. Call someone you trust.

If you get into a situation where you or someone who plans on driving is intoxicated, call a trusted friend or family member to come pick you up.

10. Use public transportation.

If the DD has a drink, or you feel an Uber ride would be too expensive, take public transportation, like a city bus or train. This will get you home safely, and cheaply. Use the buddy system to stay safe in the process.


Always play it safe. It is literally a matter of life or death.