You’re out with friends when one member of your group says that they’re going to leave. They drove to the bar, while you took a cab. They claim that it’s fine for them to drive, drinking a cup of water at the bar before they go.
You know that it’s not true. You watched them drink more than you, and you know you’re well over the legal limit. They’re definitely too drunk to drive, and they’re putting everyone at risk by getting behind the wheel. What should you do? Here are a few steps you can take, though this can be a potentially difficult situation:
1. Voice your concerns in a non-confrontational manner
Remember, people do not always act rationally when they’re intoxicated. Some of them get angry far more quickly than they normally would. If you act aggressively, they might respond the same way and it just makes things worse. Tell them that you don’t think it’s safe to drive in a calm, collected way that feels more like good advice than a personal attack.
2. Make it about them
Explain to them that you’re worried they could get hurt or even killed in a crash, and that you don’t want to see it happen. Rather than berating them for putting others in danger or breaking the law, make them see that you care about them and don’t want anything bad to happen.
3. If possible, take their keys
At some house parties, people will take their guests’ keys at the beginning and then refuse to give them back to intoxicated drivers. It can become a bit harder at the bar, but you can still ask for their keys. Only do this after you try to talk them out of it, though, because it is going to escalate the situation.
4. Find a solution
If you just tell someone they can’t drive, they immediately start thinking about how they have to. Maybe they have work in the morning. They need to get home.
To prevent this train of thought, start out with a solution. Don’t just say they can’t drive; tell them that you’ll go with them and call a cab or an Uber. Talk about taking public transportation. Offer to call a sober friend to come pick both of you up. Remember that the drunk person is simply trying to solve a problem — how do they get home? — and that you can keep them from driving by solving it in another way.
DUI accidents and you
The unfortunate reality is that many people drive drunk every day, causing numerous accidents. If you get hurt in a crash, make sure you know if you have a right to financial compensation.