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Doing Your Part to Help Prevent Drunken Driving

Just about everybody loves a party. But if your party menu includes alcohol, be a smart host and insist that your guests play it safe at your party and on the way home.

Plan a safe party

  • Prepare plenty of food and have it available as soon as guests arrive so they don't drink on an empty stomach.

  • Avoid too many salty snacks, which tend to make people thirsty.

  • Offer a variety of nonalcoholic beverages, including simply water, for designated drivers and others who don't want to drink alcohol.

  • If you prepare an alcoholic punch, use a noncarbonated base such as fruit juice. Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream faster if a carbonated base is used.

  • Ask guests to appoint designated drivers before the party begins.

  • Be honest with guests who sometimes drink to excess. Ahead of time, tell them drinking and driving is unacceptable at your party. Insist they find alternative modes of transportation home.

During the party

  • Never serve alcohol to someone under the legal drinking age and never ask children to serve alcohol at parties.

  • Don't let guests mix their own drinks. Choosing a reliable bartender will help you keep track of the size and number of drinks that guests consume.

  • Don't encourage people to "have another drink."

  • Stop serving alcoholic drinks 90 minutes before the party ends. Only time diminishes the effects of alcohol. It takes at least one hour to eliminate all the alcohol in one standard drink. 

  • If, despite your efforts, some guests have too much to drink, pull them aside and explain you care about them. Then firmly insist they take cabs or let others drive them home. Or invite them to spend the night in your home.

What should you do if you spot a drunk driver?

If you spot a potentially drunken driver when you're on the road, take down the driver's license plate number and call the police.

Signs of drunk driving:

  • Wide turns

  • Straddling lanes

  • Driving with headlights off

  • Driving below the speed limit

  • Erratic braking or stopping

  • Slow response to traffic signals

  • Nearly striking an object or curb

  • Weaving across the road

  • Driving on the wrong side of the road or completely off the roadway

  • Tailgating

  • Accelerating or decelerating rapidly

Actions you can take:

  • Have a passenger call 911 and tell them you are reporting a drunk driver

  • Give the exact location, including the direction the vehicle is traveling

  • Provide a complete vehicle description, including make, model, color, and license plate

  • Describe the manner in which the vehicle is being driven

  • If you are alone, get as much of the above information as possible, pull off the road, and make the call