Drinking? Don’t drive

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How do I make a plan to get home if I’m drinking?

Be prepared: if you plan to drink, plan not to drive.

Plan ahead: enjoy your night out without putting yourself or others at risk of drinking and driving.

Going out with our mates and having a few cold ones is always a good time. But let's be honest, no one wants to wake up with a hangover and worse; a drunk driving charge.

That's why it's important to plan ahead and make smart decisions before a night out. Your future self will thank you for avoiding those awkward conversations with your mates, family, partner, boss plus having to deal with the cops, courts and a big fine.

Know your options: always plan ahead and make the safest choice to keep yourself and others safe on the road.

  • Call a ride – have a friend or family member that you can get to pick you up and get you home safely.
  • Public transport – buses and trains can get you home safely. Check your local schedules ahead of time so you can plan your route.
  • Taxis and rideshare – taxis and other services might be an option as well. Make sure your phone is charged, cash or eftpos or credit card on hand in case you need to pay for a ride home.
  • Sober driver – if you're going out with a group of mates, ask someone to be the driver for the night. Make sure they stay sober and have a plan to get everyone home safely. Look after your sober driver as well, buy them energy drinks, pitch in for gas or shout them some food.
  • Stay overnight – if you're out of town or at a friend’s place, consider staying over instead of trying to get home late at night.

Remember, drinking and driving is never worth the risk, the consequences are more than just losing your licence.

How do I stick to my plan and not drink and drive?

Be brave: make your own decisions, find a safe way home and don’t be influenced by others.

Stay strong and sober: stick to your decision to avoid drinking and driving.

If you choose to drink, make the safest choice… don’t drive.

How to talk to your mates about your decision not to drink and drive:

  • Be straight up – let your mates know ahead of time that you won't be drinking and that you're planning on driving home.
  • Suggest alternatives – offer to be the designated driver for the night, or suggest taking a taxi or other service. Let your mates know that you still want to have a good time in a safe way.
  • Don't judge – don’t make your mates feel guilty or judged for not wanting to drink. Let them know that you're cool with them having a drink or two, but you'll be sticking to non-alcoholics.
  • Have a backup plan – if you do choose to drink, make sure you and your mates have a plan in place for getting home safely, whether it's taking a taxi or getting a ride from someone else.
  • Stay positive – staying sober doesn't have to mean a boring night. Have a good time with your mates, and have some fun activities planned.
  • Lead by example – showing your mates that you're committed to making responsible choices can inspire them to do the same. Be a positive influence and encourage your mates to make safe choices as well.

What are the consequences of drinking and driving?

Don't risk it: drinking and driving can lead to serious consequences.

The consequences of drunk driving extend beyond losing your licence. Drinking and driving puts you and others at risk of serious injury or death, and it's not worth the potential consequences, which may include:

  • Disqualified from driving – you may be disqualified from driving if you drive drunk. The length of the disqualification depends on how severe the offence is, ranging from three months to several years; making it harder for you to do what you enjoy and from seeing your mates and whānau.
  • Travel restrictions – many countries won’t let you visit if you have a criminal record, including a drink driving conviction. With some countries you’ll need to tell them about your criminal record if you want to apply for a visa so your visa could be denied.
  • Job loss – you might lose your job if you have a drunk driving conviction. Depending on your job and contract, you might face disciplinary action, suspension, or termination. Criminal records can also impact any job you might want in the future, especially jobs that mean you’ll be in a position of responsibility and trust.
  • Tickets – you may have to pay tickets, which can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. And you may have to pay court costs and legal fees.
  • Criminal record – drink driving is a criminal offense in Aotearoa, which means that if you are convicted, you’ll have a criminal record. This can have long-term consequences for you and all aspects of your life.

Always make responsible choices and plan ahead to ensure you never drink and drive.