With the holidays right around the corner, many of us will be heading out to fancy parties and enjoying a good time with friends and family. And with those parties, you’ll typically find yourself having an alcoholic beverage or two. But one way you’re sure to ruin the holidays is by getting a DUI.
The last thing anyone wants is to get arrested or cause an accident for themselves or others. If you want to make sure you avoid a DUI this holiday season, there are seven tips you should keep in mind to keep yourself (and others) safe and out of trouble.
1. Just Don’t Drink
The simplest way to avoid a DUI this holiday season? Don’t drink! It’s tempting to have a beer or glass of wine when celebrating the holidays with friends and family. However, drinking isn’t necessary in order to have a good time. Play it safe and avoid any trouble by skipping the alcoholic beverages at holiday parties.
It may not be the most popular option, but you’ll feel good about it afterwards. You can volunteer yourself to be the designated driver for your friends and ensure they all make it home safely. Plus, you won’t be left dealing with a splitting headache the next morning. And you can even save money since you won’t be buying those expensive cocktails!
2. Prepare in Advance for a Night Out
If you know you’re going to be drinking, the smart thing to do is prepare ahead of time. One of the worst things you can do is go out and start drinking alcoholic beverages on an empty stomach. If you do, those drinks are going to feel a lot stronger, hit you harder, and impact you even more.
Instead, make sure you eat a good meal before going out. You’ll feel better if you have a full stomach and pace your drinking instead of doing too much at once. Not only that, but you’ll thank yourself for it later. So, grab something to eat while you’re getting ready for the night!
3. Know Your Own Limit
When it comes to alcohol, we’re all different. What one person can tolerate, another might not be able to handle. That’s why it’s crucial that you know your own limit when it comes to drinking. How much can you have without becoming completely intoxicated?
While we can often feel pressured into drinking more to keep up with our friends, it’s not going to be worth it if you’ll be paying for it tomorrow. Know your limit and don’t drink more than you can handle. If you go overboard, you’ll be more likely to make a poor decision that you’ll regret later.
You can also go online to determine what your blood alcohol content (BAC) level will be after a certain number of drinks. Here’s a helpful BAC calculator. Simply input your gender and size and you’ll be given a recommendation. Make sure you aim for below your state’s legal limit. But you will want to keep in mind this isn’t admissible in court and you could still face DUI charges if pulled over. You should just use it as a guide to prevent you from going overboard with the drinks.
4. Always Remember Your Individual State’s DUI Laws
You can get a DUI in any US state — not just Illinois. The laws regarding DUIs will vary from state to state, so it’s important to be aware of the rules where you live. No matter where you are, there will be a BAC level that you need to stay under in order to be permitted to drive.
With that said, in some states, you can actually still be arrested for a DUI with a BAC level under the legal limit especially if you were involved in an accident. While some people may think it’s fine to “sleep it off” in the car, in some states this can also lead to a DUI arrest.
If you’re going to be out drinking this holiday season, do a quick Google search to determine your state’s DUI laws. Know what’s legal and what’s not. It’s better to be aware of this before going out so you can stay well under the legal limit.
5. Use an App to Determine Your Level of Impairment
These days, there’s an app for just about everything. And yes, there are DUI apps that could possibly keep you out of trouble during the holidays. There are applications you can download to your smartphone that will estimate your blood alcohol level based on how many drinks you’ve consumed. If you’re interested in this, check out DrinkTracker or Drive Sober.
There are even apps, such as Intoxicheck, that require you to complete challenges to determine your reaction times, memory, judgment, and dexterity. You can even purchase a mobile breathalyzer that attaches to your smartphone.
While these apps can be helpful, do remember that you cannot depend solely on these options. If you’re not sure if it’s safe for you to drive, your best bet is to just get a ride home.
6. Be Aware of Local DUI Checkpoints
The police know that holiday parties are pretty popular this time of year. Not only that, but they’re expecting that people will be out, drinking and driving. So, if you want to avoid a DUI this holiday season, it’s smart to be aware of the DUI checkpoints in your area.
You can find out where certain checkpoints are through your local news or online. This way, you can avoid them when heading home for the night. Of course, if you are too intoxicated to drive, you shouldn’t get behind the wheel at all. Avoiding checkpoints won’t keep you out of trouble this way.
7. Use a Ride Sharing Service
If you have been drinking and you don’t have a designated driver to get you home safely, choose a ride sharing service instead. You can use Uber or Lyft to ensure you don’t put yourself or anyone else in danger. Plus, you can avoid getting into any kind of legal trouble that will ruin your holiday season. It’s better to pay the fee for a ride sharing service than to risk your life or the lives of others.