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How to stop a friend from driving after drinking

Posted at 7:38 AM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-18 10:38:12-04

Every day, 28 people in the United States die in car accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver, and records show drunken driving rates are highest on nights and weekends.

You may be responsible enough not to drive after drinking, but it can be difficult to stop an inebriated friend from getting behind the wheel. The next time you're at a party, use these tips to keep your friends — and everyone else — safe on the roads.

Assign a designated driver

One of the simplest ways to keep you and your friends safe on the road without sacrificing a good time is to plan ahead. Choose a friend to be the group's designated driver for the night.

That way, you don't have to worry about catching anyone on the way out the door or try to hide keys from tipsy friends. When your night of merriment winds down, you can send your friends off with confidence.

Offer to drive

If your friends are looking worse for the wear after a long night of partying, offer to drive them home and bring their car around the next day. Then they don't have to worry about transportation logistics and can sleep off their night of fun with ease.

Provide nonalcoholic drinks

If you're the party host, offer a variety of drinks for your guests, including nonalcoholic beverages. This will help people quench their thirst without going overboard, and keep designated drivers content. While you're at it, keep plenty of snacks around, so no one drinks on an empty stomach.

Collect keys

When people are drunk, they aren't always easy to reason with (they're impaired, after all). One way to prevent friends from heading tipsily out the door against your better judgment is to keep their keys. No keys, no driving.

You can have guests put their keys in a basket when they arrive, and give them back only if they have a designated driver or have sufficiently sobered up. Otherwise, pay attention as the party winds down and take keys away from anyone who isn't ready to get behind the wheel.

Call a cab or ride service

You can always call a cab or ride service for an intoxicated guest. This is especially helpful if no one wants to play designated driver for the night. Services such as Uber and Lyft are a great option.

Wait it out

Nothing but time will sober someone up, so an easy way to stay safe on the road is to wait before getting behind the wheel. Alcohol metabolizes at a rate of about one drink per hour (although it varies by person). If you're the host, you can cut people off about an hour before the night ends, giving some people a chance to sober up and others the opportunity to find another way home.

If any friends head out too soon, persuade them to stick around longer. If it's a good party, you shouldn't have too much trouble convincing them.

Let them sleep over

Sometimes, waiting it out isn't an option. If your friends are hammered, sleeping it off could be the best solution. Offer to let them crash at your place for the night. Impromptu slumber parties can even be fun, and your friends will be grateful in the morning.

Whether you're out for a night on the town or hosting a summer block party, keep the good times rolling by watching out for your friends and making sure no one drives home drunk. Your friends will thank you for it.

Pacific Bay Recovery understands the challenge of watching a friend, family member or loved one struggle with addiction. We are here to help.

Visit for information or to request a consultation.