When you go out with the intention of having fun, it’s easy to lose track of the amount of alcohol you’ve consumed. Before you know it, it’s getting late and you’ll need to be making your way home. Watch out – you could be headed for trouble.
DUI is a serious offense. Not only is it a stain on your record, the punishment is costly and very inconvenient.
Aside from the legal repercussions, driving while intoxicated is extremely dangerous. In fact, in 2016 alone, Austin saw 1,432 DUI-related crashes.
DUI prevention starts with being smart and knowing your options. Obviously, the best way to avoid a DUI is to not drink at all. But everyone finds themselves in sticky situations.
However, taking a few simple percussions will help you avoid a trip to the drunk tank. Let’s look at seven tips to help you get home safe.
1. Find a Designated Driver For DUI Prevention
If you’re absolutely sure you’ll be drinking, it’s best to find a designated driver that can get you home safely. This completely relinquishes you of the responsibility of having to drive. It also allows you to relax and enjoy yourself a bit more.
The problem with a designated driver is sometimes they end up drinking too. They may have a one or two beer rule that quickly turns into three or four.
If you designate someone to drive you home, make sure they take responsibility for staying sober. The last thing you want is a friend going to jail while trying to help you out.
2. Eat Something Before Getting Behind the Wheel
Making sure you don’t drink on an empty stomach is a good DUI prevention technique. This works great if you’re going out on a dinner date and want to have a glass of wine or beer.
Food helps slow the rate at which alcohol enters your system. On the other hand, when you drink on an empty stomach, alcohol enters your bloodstream much quicker. Your blood alcohol level (BAC) rises faster than if you have a full stomach.
If you’re not out for a meal and know you’ll need to get home later, try to eat something like chips or pretzels to keep your BAC below 0.08 percent.
3. Use Public Transportation or Ride Sharing
Like we mentioned earlier, the best form of DUI prevention is to not drink at all. Using public transportation or ride sharing is a close second.
Austin has a bus system and rail service you could use if you’ve had too much to drink. However, they run on a schedule and may not make stops conveniently located around your home.
This is what makes ride sharing so great. Services like Uber and Lyft are readily available until around two or three in the morning.
Don’t make the excuse that ride sharing is too expensive. A DUI offense will cost you thousands, so it’s best to spend a little extra to get home safe.
4. Stop Drinking Early
A good tactic when out with friends is to stop drinking long before you’ll need to drive home. This allows your body to metabolize the alcohol you’ve consumed to get your BAC back down.
As a rule, try to wait one hour for every drink you’ve had. During that time, it’s a good idea to drink water and have a bite to eat if possible.
If you’ve had an excessive amount to drink, you probably won’t have enough time to wait it out. In this case, it’s probably a better idea to find another way home.
5. Stay Alert While Driving
Even if you’ve only had a very small amount to drink, staying alert while driving is very important. Not only is this good DUI prevention, it helps keep you and other drivers on the road safe.
Make sure to follow all traffic laws closely. Always use your signals and obey the speed limit. Even if you’re sure your BAC is below 0.08, if you’re pulled over and a police officer suspects you’ve been drinking, you may be asked to take a field sobriety test.
Even though a small amount of alcohol may not put you over the limit, it can make you tired and slow down your reflexes. An officer may decide you’re intoxicated and charge you with DUI.
6. Give up Your Keys
Alcohol clouds your judgment. Sometimes this means you think you can drive when actually you’re far over the legal limit. If you think you’ve had too much and want to ensure you don’t make a huge mistake, hand your keys over to a friend.
DUI prevention is totally up to you. It all comes down to the choices you make when you decide to drink. If you know you tend to make bad decisions while intoxicated, it’s better to go ahead and give up your keys and avoid going to jail or hurting someone.
Remember, when you turn your keys over to a friend, make sure and tell them not to give them back until you’ve stopped drinking for an appropriate amount of time.
7. Stay Informed About City Laws
Even if you’ve taken precautions, it’s best to stay informed about your city’s ordinances regarding drunk driving. Austin has a “no refusal” law that makes you unable to refuse a breathalyzer test if pulled over on certain days.
Most cities put up checkpoints during holidays. You can usually look online to find out where these might be. It’s better to avoid them all together.
Sometimes people are charged with DUI when they shouldn’t be. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens. Good DUI prevention starts with knowing the law so you can avoid complications.
Make DUI Prevention a Top Priority
These tips are meant to inform you and help keep you and others safe. If you decide to drink when you go out, you need to think first before you act. Don’t let a DUI charge put a major road bump in your future.
If you do get charged with a DUI, you’ll need experienced legal representation. Austin DUI lawyer James Fletcher can help. Contact our office today.