Over 10,000 Americans die every year in alcohol-related accidents. Make sure you and your friends aren’t another statistic.
You’ve heard it all of your life, but it’s worth repeating: “Don’t drink and drive.” Every 52 minutes in this country, someone dies from an alcohol-involved car crash. someone dies from an alcohol-involved car crash. One third of all traffic-related deaths are caused by drunk driving – that’s over 10,000 lives lost each year.
But do these words mean much when we read them on the screen? Does it change the way we act? No one really plans on driving drunk and killing someone or themselves, do they?
Of course not. If drunk driving was that easy of an issue to solve we would have solved it already! What teens can do is change the conversation about drinking and driving before it even happens. Teenagers are most at-risk when it comes to drunk driving for multiple reasons, but the big three are:
- Lack of experience driving – Teens are just learning the rules of the road and how to drive normally. Add alcohol into the equation and even the most experienced drivers have trouble behind the wheel, let alone teens.
- Low tolerance for alcohol – Teens don’t know how to regulate their drinking and can become much more drunk with much less alcohol if they aren’t careful.
- Peer pressure – Peer pressure is real and can be deadly if mixed with alcohol. Your common sense can easily go out the window when your friends are saying something different.
These three issues create a perfect storm for teens when it comes to drunk driving. And most teenagers who experiment with alcohol don’t start out getting wasted and getting behind the steering wheel – it’s a process. (https://www.drive-safely.net/teenage-drunk-driving/) Teens who experiment with alcohol will first try to drive after one or two drinks. If nothing bad happens the first time, they’ll try it again but with three or four drinks this time. Buzzed driving is still drunk driving and it can quickly escalate faster than teens might realize.
So what can you do as an individual? Let’s go over the things we can control.
- Plan your safe ride home before the party. Know who is taking you home and that they will not be drinking.
- If anyone you know has been drinking, do not let them behind the wheel. Take their keys and find them a sober ride home. They might be angry with you now, but they’ll thank you when they sober up.
- If you yourself have been drinking, do not drive for any reason. Call an Uber, a sober friend, or a trusted adult. Everyone wants you to be safe and they will not be angry with you.
- Always wear your seatbelt. You can’t control other drivers on the road, but you can protect yourself.
Maybe you’ve already found yourself in one of these situations before. Maybe you haven’t. But some time in your life you’ll be faced with these scenarios. It’s important to know how to deal with these issues when they arise. It takes everyone to help us reduce the deaths associated with drinking and driving, and every little thing we can do helps.