As Independence Day approaches, you’re probably making plans to attend some kind of party with your friends. And, although you’re just planning a night of fun, things can easily go wrong. The Fourth of July is one of the deadliest days for car accidents involving drunk drivers. Highway fatalities increase 37 percent on July Fourth, and most of those are due to drunk driving accidents. If you know that your friends plan to drink alcohol over the holiday, then they shouldn’t drive – and here are nine tips to help keep your friends safe.
- Make a plan beforehand.
The best way to prevent drunk driving is to plan ahead. Make transportation arrangements to get you and your friend home safely before the night even starts. You can choose a designated driver, bring a cab company’s phone number, or ask the host if you can sleep over.
- Take action early.
Even if you haven’t made a plan, try to take action as soon as possible. If you see that your friend is drinking, ask him immediately about his transportation plans or ask him to give you his keys. He will be more likely to listen to reason if you talk to him before he’s had too much to drink.
- Be straightforward.
If you see that your friend is about to drive home and you know that she’s been drinking, a simple and straightforward approach may be best. Simply ask her “Are you okay to drive?” That may be enough to make her think twice and realize that she needs to find another way home.
- Speak in private.
When you approach your friend, avoid embarrassing him in front of others. If he feels embarrassed or threatened, he may refuse to listen to you out of pride. If you think this may be an issue, talk to him in private.
- Be calm.
When you try to tell your friend not to drive, she may respond rudely, but don’t take any insults or accusations personally. Avoid returning insults or using a condescending tone. You don’t want the conversation to turn into an argument. Remember that your goal is to prevent drunk driving and keep your friend safe.
- Be persistent.
If your friend shrugs you off initially, don’t give up. Keep giving reasons why he should stay at the party or make other transportation arrangements. If necessary, find others who will help you convince him.
- Have a slumber party.
If your friend is stubborn, it may be easier to make the idea of staying at the party seem more appealing. Ask the host if she can stay the night or invite her to your place when you leave (if you have a safe way home). Make this option more appealing by promising food or planning an activity.
- Call a cab.
If your friend refuses to listen to you, you may need to make travel arrangements for him. Pay for the cab in advance and give the driver directions. If possible, ride home with your friend to make sure he gets home safely.
- Take her keys away.
If you’ve run out of options, then ensure that your friend can’t drive at all. Wait until she’s distracted to or ask if you can borrow the car for an errand. Then keep the keys or hide them. You friend may not remember that you asked for the keys earlier in the night and may think that she simply lost them during the party.
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