5 Risks You Don’t Realize You Take When You Drink and Drive
There’s a huge difference between an alcoholic and a social drinker. After all, casual drinkers are just grabbing a couple drinks with friends, not getting falling down drunk. They don’t have to worry about the consequences of drunk driving – or do they?
How Much Alcohol is Too Much?
That depends on many factors, such as your size, health and length of time since your last meal. As a rule of thumb, three beers, shots or glasses of wine in an hour will make the average person legally drunk.
If you’re drinking after work and haven’t eaten since lunch, it will hit you a little faster. Drinking coffee won’t sober you up. The body can only metabolize about one drink an hour. If you’ve been drinking, do yourself a favor and call for a ride home.
What are the risks of drinking and driving? Your life could be changed forever – and not for the better.
1. Killing or Injuring Yourself
Drinking alcohol and then driving dramatically increases your likelihood of involvement in an accident. Drinking before driving leads to increased reaction times, and reduces your vision, perception, tracking, psychomotor skills, and your ability to divide your attention effectively
With nearly 40% of all driving related fatalities in the US in 2016 involving alcohol, representing sixteen deaths a day, drinking and driving results in a serious risk to your own life.
2. Killing or Injuring Someone Else
Imagine seeing your face on the local news after causing a severe accident while drinking and driving. All states have a zero tolerance policy, so it wouldn’t matter if this was your first DUI. You’d face both criminal and civil penalties, resulting in jail time and considerable financial cost. Some states even have laws where the victims in the accident can sue for punitive damages, meaning that you don’t just have your own legal costs to deal with: you also have to compensate the victims. Is it worth the increased risk of killing or permanently injuring someone, no matter who they are?
3. Direct Financial Costs
Here’s a handy map showing the direct costs of drunk driving. Plan on $10,000 for the initial expenses, comprised of the fine itself, education funds, breathalyzer fees, attorney costs, and insurance increases. The total cost could be much more. If there was a child in the car, you could face an additional $10,000 plus up to two years in jail. These costs far eclipse the cost of an Uber. You might be trying to save $15, but you could easily put yourself out at least $10,000 more if you’re caught drunk driving.
4. Your Job
If you drive on the company’s insurance, you’re automatically fired. Some companies fire all employees with a conviction, including a drunk driving conviction. Not only does this jeopardize your current financial situation, it also makes it far harder for you to find a job in the future. Your current employer is unlikely to provide you a favourable reference after having fired you. Furthermore, future potential employers won’t be impressed if they learn you were let go after a DUI conviction.
5. Your Family
Everything you do, including the above consequences, reach beyond you. They impact your family as well. How would your family react to your death? What about to you accidentally killing a stranger? What if your family is in the car with you, and you hurt your spouse or your child? Even if they’re not in the car, how would they cope with you losing your job or spending time in jail? The next time you consider driving home after a drink at the bar, remember that you’re making a decision that could harm your entire family.
Drunk driving isn’t worth the risks taken. It can cost you and your family everything, including your life. You can find taxis, Ubers, and Lyft’s everywhere. The next time you choose to drink socially, be smart about your transportation.