You had a few drinks, but you’re okay to drive. You waited an hour, you only had beer, everyone else has had way more than you have....you could give a whole list of reasons why you’re not drunk. Unfortunately, these reasons tend to be excuses, and they’re given just moments before a crash.
Why Buzzed Drivers Are the Cause of Hundreds of Drunk Driving Crashes
Just having one or two drinks may not put you over the legal limit, but many drivers are still significantly impaired when they are not “legally” intoxicated. “Buzzed” drivers who are under the legal limit may be fooled into thinking that they are not impaired, and can cause crashes due to:
- Poor self-monitoring. Many people have an inability to judge what their BAC actually is without taking a breathalyzer test, and this perception only gets worse with each drink they have.
- Increased effects. People don’t stay “buzzed” for very long before falling into intoxication, especially if they have had additional drinks in the hours before driving.
- Variables. Some people can have three strong drinks before they are intoxicated, while some cannot drive after half a glass of wine. Judging your limit depends on many factors, including your weight, how often you drink, how much you have eaten, and any medications that when combined with alcohol can further impair your concentration.
- Combined illegal behaviors. Teen drivers are at greatest risk of dying in alcohol-related crashes. Since they are too young to legally drink alcohol, many teen drinkers will attempt to drive home after a party in order to escape detection by the police, putting them more at risk of a crash than if they had stayed at a friend’s house.
- Unwillingness to leave a vehicle. Many people insist on driving home simply because they do not want to have to retrieve their cars from the bar in the morning. However, police officers are aware of these behaviors and will actively look for drunk drivers leaving drinking establishments, especially around the holidays.
- Paying for cabs. Many drivers simply choose to drive because they do not want to pay for a taxi. These same people may soon discover that the combined costs of a DUI charge, fines, court costs, and car towing—an average of $10,000 before a crash—are a lot higher than paying for a cab.
Hundreds of people across the U.S. lose their lives every December as a result of a drunk driving crash. The good news is that a small amount of preparation can help you get home safely—and may even help you avoid taking someone else’s life. Before going out to celebrate, designate the sober driver in your group and add taxi numbers directly into your phone, just in case.
You can also help others stay safe by calling them a cab if they are visibly drunk, or making sure they hand their keys to a sober driver. If you see a drunk driver on the road, always call the police—it’s better to be wrong than to know you could have prevented an accident. Share these tips on Facebook to let your friends and family know what they can do to stay safe this holiday season!