Heading out for a night of fun with friends and drinks is an activity most adults look forward to. Whether you’re dancing the night away at a club or enjoying a cozy sip-and-paint party, you’re likely to have a good time, unwind, and make happy memories.
When you do adventure out for these kinds of activities, though, you need to consider the risks that come along with them; specifically, if you get behind the wheel. Drinking and driving can have disastrous effects, making it crucial to plan ahead. The following guide highlights exactly what you could risk if you get behind the wheel after a few drinks, as well as some effective tips to avoid trouble.
The Risks of Drinking and Driving After a Party
After a party, you’re likely in good spirits and feeling careless. As such, you might think there isn’t much harm in getting behind the wheel—especially if you only have a few drinks. However, this type of thinking is exactly what contributes to the over 10,000 deaths that occur due to drunken car accidents in the United States each year. For those unfortunate enough to find themselves in this predicament, the repercussions abound.
Even the most minor accidents can cause significant injuries. Common damages from a drunk driving accident include whiplash, broken or fractured bones, spinal and neck injuries, brain damage, partial or complete loss of movement in the arms or legs, and cuts, gashes, or wounds.
First, there’s the damage to your vehicle. Even something as simple as a damaged bumper could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to replace or repair. Then, there’s the potential for another party to be involved. If you hit someone else, they’ll likely opt to hire a Riverside car accident lawyer and file a personal injury suit against you. If they’re successful, you could be responsible for everything from their medical bills to new parts for their damaged car.
Additionally, you’re likely to face increased insurance premiums after your crash. Insurance companies base your rates on how risky they think it is to provide coverage. Being involved in a drunk driving accident indicates to the insurer that you are a liability—to offset those costs, they’ll charge you more.
The severity of the legal consequences brought on by drinking and driving can vary due to numerous factors such as your age, driving history, and whether anyone else was involved. In California, the minimum penalty you’ll face is up to $1,000 in fines, up to 6 months in jail, 6 months suspension from driving a minimum, 6 months probation, and 6 months required use of an ignition interlock device. At a maximum, you’ll face up to $5,000 in fines, up to 16 years in jail, and up to 5 years without a license.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
The key to enjoying a night out partying is simply to think ahead and make good choices. Before you head out, figure out how you’ll get home. For example, will you call a rideshare service? Take public transportation? If you’re going out with a group of friends, you might also consider electing one person to operate as the designated driver—this person abstains from drinking to ensure everyone in the group is able to get home safely.
If you do end up driving yourself to the party, be responsible with your alcohol intake. Limit yourself to two drinks, maximum, and take two sips of water for every one sip of alcohol. Also, eat a hearty meal before leaving to avoid drinking on an empty stomach.
With proper preparation and foresight, it’s easy to enjoy a night out partying with your friends.