Christmas is upon us again. Let’s set aside the snow for a second and focus on an omnipresent festive problem – drunk people getting into cars.
Now, I know that drunken drivers are a massive social problem – as the phrase goes, ‘if you’re driving, don’t drink, if you’re drinking, don’t drive.’
Alcohol flows like wine at Christmas, what with the endless rounds of work parties, not to mention people trying to numb the endless tedium of small talk with relatives by throwing gallons of the stuff down their throat.
That is all well and good, and very enjoyable, but of course there is a serious note to this article. A vast amount of drivers are still under the impression that drink-driving is okay. Common attitudes seem to be:
- ‘I only had a couple’
- ‘I’m only going down the road’
- ‘I have a high tolerance/I don’t feel drunk’
- ‘I’ve been doing it for years’
- ‘I’ve had a coffee/I’ve had a meal’
These are all, frankly, gibberish. Yes, there is a drink/drive limit, which implies that it is possible to have a drink and still drive legally. This can’t be denied.
However, the problems with this attitude are that it can lead to complacency. As well as this, nobody knows precisely how each drink affects them. Even one drink still has an effect on the driver, even if it is still within legally permissible parameters. It is easier just to apply the well-known maxim, ‘Don’t drink and drive’ in an absolute manner. If you know you are driving, stick to a soft drink. What is the point in only having one beer anyway? It won’t exactly unlock a great night.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, on top of all this, new research by insurers swiftcover.com suggests that drunken passengers are almost as dangerous as their counterparts behind the wheel.
They estimate that around 750,000 car crashes over the festive period will be due to sozzled revelers distracting whoever it is that is driving them home, so many people will be injured in a road accident as a result. Among the primary causes of distraction are:
- The passenger being sick
- The passenger singing loudly
- The passenger turning up the radio to apocalyptic levels
- The passenger yanking the handbrake
- The passenger tugging the steering wheel
- All of these actions
So if you’re a responsible designated driver this Christmas, keep yourself safe from the perils of plastered passengers. Make sure they are in the back of the vehicle away from the temptation of the radio and ensure that, where possible, stop if they are ill.
It might just save your life.
Date Published: December 22, 2010
Author: David Brown