Drunk Driving: Dangerous Distractions

Over 10,000 people die each year as a result of drunk driving. However, many people take the risk every day. Drunk driving is one of the most dangerous distractions behind the wheel but we are hoping to combat that in some way. Below, you will find an explanation of a few ways in which alcohol can have an impact on your driving ability. Once people are aware of the danger, then they probably won’t take the risk

Drunk Driving: Alcohol and Impact

Poor reaction time

One reason why drunk driving is dangerous is because alcohol lowers your reaction time. Alcohol works as a depressant, meaning it slows down your body’s functions. This includes your breathing, as well as your brain’s ability to process information and transmit that into actions. As a result, drunk people tend to be very sluggish and slow to respond to what’s going on around them.

This can be risky on its own, but it’s especially bad when driving. Drivers have to constantly be on the lookout for any changes in the road. If a car slams on the brakes or if a light turns red, then they need to react quickly. Being drunk dramatically decreases your ability to do this, and can cause an accident because of it.

Lack of coordination

Drunk driving is also dangerous because of how alcohol messes with a person’s ability to focus and coordinate. Our hands, eyes, and feet all coordinate with each other, and this is apparent when driving. When you see something happen in the road, you can adjust the wheel and brake or accelerate at pretty much the same time.

When drinking, this coordination becomes harder to pull off. Our brain isn’t able to function like it should, and as a result the right signals don’t get sent to the right places. Plus, you won’t be able to focus on the road as you should. This means that you won’t be able to maneuver or operate your car in a safe way.

Blurry vision

Drinking too much can make it much harder to see. Blurry or double vision can be pretty common. In fact, some people may drink so much, that they end up with temporary blindness!

Of course, that’s another reason why drunk driving is hazardous. If you can’t properly see the road, then you can’t properly drive even if you’re sober. It becomes much harder to see what’s in front of you, and where you should stop to avoid accidents. Add in how many people tend to drink and drive at night, and it becomes even harder to see.

Driving Substitutes: Avoiding Accidents

After a night of drinking, it’s important you get home safely. However, if you’ve had too much to drink, then you don’t want to take the risk of getting behind the wheel. Instead, you should look to some driving substitutes. That way, you can make it back without risking a DUI…

Driving Substitutes: Get Home Safely

Public transit

Public transportation is one of the good driving substitutes. The nice thing about public transport is that it’ll pretty much always be running. This is especially handy if you have been drinking at a pretty late time. They’re also especially useful if you live in a city, because you can pretty much always have a route home.

It’s a good idea to do a bit of planning ahead of using public transit. Before you go out, look up the routes close to where you’ll be and figure out the times and distance from where you live. Make sure you also bring enough money to cover any fares!

Ride sharing apps

Perhaps one of the most popular driving substitutes are ride sharing apps. These apps, like Uber and Lyft, allow for you to have someone else come pick you up. The nice thing about these apps when compared to something like taxis are how you can always request a pickup. That means even if you’re in a more rural spot, you can get a ride.

Still, with that convenience comes a bit more expense. Many of these apps will charge extra during peak “surge” hours when there’s a lot of requests. Of course, paying that bit extra is always worth it compared to getting a DUI!

Designated driver

The designated driver concept has been one of the most effective driving substitutes for avoiding DUIs. For starters, they’re more reliable and safer than other choices. Instead of needing strangers to drive you home, you’ll have someone you know to do it. Plus, you won’t have to worry about waiting a long time for your ride.

Also, designated driving encourages healthier drinking habits. That’s because most friend groups will use a rotation system. If someone was the driver last time, then next time someone else will take the role, which will let the last person drink and the other to take a break. So long as you can trust your friend to keep sober, this is an excellent substitute to pick.

DUI Stop: Keeping Calm & Getting Through

If you find yourself facing a stop for drinking and driving, it’s important to know how to handle the situation. An officer may ask you several questions and want to complete tests to determine your intoxication. You’ll probably be nervous, which can make you appear more intoxicated. In order to avoid this, it’s important to know how to handle yourself at a DUI stop.

DUI Stop: What Should I Do?

Pull Over and Place Your Hands on the Wheel

First thing to do at a DUI stop is to pull over. Of course, this can seem obvious, but it’s important to make sure you do this as quickly and safely as possible. While you want to stop as soon as you see blue lights, you must also look for a safe spot. After pulling over, it’s also a good idea to place your hands on the wheel. By doing this, an officer can see both of your hands and know your intentions.

Exercise Your Rights

When facing a DUI stop, you’ll most likely be going through all kinds of emotions. Fear, anxiety, and frustration are just a few. In fact, you’ll probably be upset with yourself for being in this position. Even more so, you may feel frustrated with the officer as well.

While these feelings are normal, it’s important to remain polite, even through these emotions. Talking back, arguing or just being rude, will not help your case. Officers tend to be much more polite when you are polite to them. Therefore, it’s aways a good idea to use good manners and be respectful during a DUI stop.

Exercise Your Rights

While you want to be polite and respectful, that doesn’t mean you must do everything they say. You do have rights and that means you can politely remain silent. An officer may ask questions about where you’re coming from and what you had to drink. By answering these questions, you could incriminate yourself. So, it’s often a good idea to stay quiet when asked these types of questions during a DUI stop.

Stay Calm

Staying calm during a DUI stop is difficult but so important. When some people become nervous, the effects of anxiety can mirror intoxication signs. For example, some people’s hands and voice begin shaking when they are nervous. But shaking hands can also be a sign of drunkenness. In addition, you want to be able to think clearly, respond to the officer, know when to remain silent, and what questions to ask, if needed. So, staying calm at a DUI stop is crucial.

In short, a DUI stop can be a scary thing to face. Just remember to be polite and cooperate, but also that you have the right to stay quiet. Stay calm and inform the officers you want to speak with your attorney before answering any questions.

Underage DUI’s

Attempts to curb underage drinking are admirable. However, those younger than the legal drinking age of 21 will still find a way to get alcohol. Sometimes, it’s at a party or sometimes it’s closer to home. Either way, when you combine alcohol and driving, it’s a bad situation. Mistakes happen, and underage DUI’s become a relevant problem.

Underage DUI’s: How They’re Different

What’s the limit?

In South Carolina, all drivers can receive a conviction of a standard DUI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% of more. However, if you are under the age of 21, you can have a charge of an underage DUI if your BAC is .02% or more. Underage DUI’s can happen at any point over the .02% level.

Who gets to choose?

The officer who pulls the driver over will decide how to cite the person. If the BAC of the driver is over .02% but less than .08% it will depend on how impaired they seem. If it seems the driver is not impaired enough to meet the definition of “under the influence”, they will probably face charges for an underage DUI. Underage DUI’s are not the same as standard DUI’s.

What happens?

In cases of underage DUI’s, there will be no jail time or court fines. An underage DUI is handled through the Department of Motor Vehicles instead of through the criminal court. Since there is no criminal court, there is no criminal conviction. The driver stopped for a an underage DUI will have to enroll in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program.

In addition to the treatment plan recommended by the program, there are other actions. You will face license suspension for three months (six months for a second conviction) if the driver submits to a chemical test. If you refuse the chemical testing, you will automatically face license suspension for six months (and a year for the second offense).

Do I need a lawyer?

Since standard DUI’s will always go to court, most will not question the need for a lawyer. But do you need one for underage DUI’s? In short, yes. If you wish to file an objection to the administrative action, you will have a 30 day window to do so. A lawyer can help with this action.

Safe Riding: Getting Home in One Piece

While it can be good to watch how much you drink, there might be some days where you have a bit too much. In these cases, you’ll need to figure out how to get back home. However, there’s a few options to use for safe riding. That way, you can avoid even thinking about doing any drunk driving…

Safe Riding: Avoid Drunk Driving

Designated driver

The designated driver concept is perhaps the best way to practice safe riding. The idea is pretty simple, but highly effective. One person will remain sober while everyone else will drink. Then, this sober person will handle the driving duties and get everyone home safely.

The nice thing about designated driving is that it’s something everyone can do. In fact, most people tend to rotate responsibilities in order to keep things fair. One person who drank previously might become the designated driver next time. Plus, it’s also a great way to hang out with friends while trying to cut back on your drinking.

Ride sharing

Recently, ride sharing apps have become handy for practicing safe riding. These apps allow you to have someone come pick you up at nearly any location. This makes them especially handy for if you find yourself accidentally drinking too much, and not having a designated driver on hand.

Of course, much like a taxi, you’ll have to pay a fare in order to ride. These fares can go up during busy days, like the weekends. Therefore, keep this in cost in mind as part of your budget when going out. Still, paying these prices is always better than driving drunk.

Calling someone you know

If you find yourself in need of a ride, and don’t have access to other options, then it’s time to call someone you know. This could be a friend you know, or a family member. Hopefully, they’ll be able to come to where you are and give you a ride.

Keep in mind this can be tricky, as they might be busy themselves. Plus, it is somewhat inconvenient for the person you’re calling, so it helps to try and repay the favor somehow. Therefore, the best thing is to have a surefire safe riding plan set up beforehand.