The primary reason that DefensiveDriving.org exists is to help create safer drivers. One of the main causes of death on the roadways is drunk driving. It’s sad but true, we all know someone who’s been negatively impacted as the victim of drunk driving. The problem, as they say, is endemic. It’s particularly bad around the holidays. My goal in writing this is to help you avoid a story I know all too well. The Holidays are for good spirits. Having too many spirits and driving, can ruin the shindig you know as life. It can ruin someone else’s too.
An area where I have personal experience as an offender of the law is drunk driving. In October of 2011, I flipped a vehicle drunk driving from Los Angeles to Orange County after a CBeyond new hire party. It was my first sales job after the 2008 recession. I felt pretty obligated to party and try my best to climb that corporate ladder. It didn’t seem possible without fitting into the culture. I have no idea how many drinks I had that night. That was just the beginning of the bad choice.
Having to train in Los Angeles and live in Orange County, there was a good hour commute between myself and my bed. I drove. If I had crashed 5 minutes earlier, I would have killed Mick, my passenger, who we luckily got home safe. I didn’t get hurt. I didn’t hit anyone. In the end, I’m one of the luckiest people on earth. I spent a night in Santa Ana jail, a place you really don’t want to be. I have stories to tell about how bad this can really be, but also how bad this can be when you get off easily. I’ve always strived to pay it forward. That’s why this website exists.
Ways to Stay Safe on Christmas and New Years Eve
Two of the primary days we celebrate in December, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, are massive days for DUIs. It’s really not surprising. You mix awkward holiday interactions with family you haven’t seen and maybe don’t even want to see. The result is a booze fest. I support all of what helps you get through your holiday season. I have my own family stuff that makes the holidays difficult. What I don’t condone is driving after getting saucy. My family life isn’t perfect and I celebrate the Holidays accordingly. That’s not a justification to go fragmenting someone else’s life on account of your own personal problems.
Here are some ways you can stay safe this holiday season:
- Have a Plan. It sounds ridiculous, but having a plan is key to any situation going successfully. There are a lot of solutions for different parties in different places. If Uber, Lyft, Taxis, or Public Transit are available at the location you’re looking to part at, you should plan on using them at all costs to stay safe.
- Designate a Driver. If you’re driving to the location you plan on drinking at, you’ll need to designate a driver or plan to leave your car at the location of the engagement. If you’re drinking and planning on driving the same car home, make sure to designate a driver amongst you who hasn’t been drinking.
- Wear Your Seatbelt. While we can control our actions, we cannot control the actions of others. It’s very important that you are wearing your seatbelt and that youngsters who require car seats are appropriately strapped in.
- Avoid Distracted Driving. There is nothing more dangerous on the roadways than distracted driving. To safely get home during this Holiday season, you should make sure to avoid any and all distractions in the car. Your reaction could be the difference between life and death.
- Therapy If you’ve got a set of awkward family interactions that causes you to drink too much, it might be time to talk about it. I’m a personal believer in the value of talk therapy. It helps bring context. None of us get an advantage by draining our discomfort. Talk about your feelings instead.
Consequences of Getting a DUI
DUI’s cost people their lives. You can cause injuries and deaths and many involved in DUI wrecks are never the same. PTSD and mental trauma are just the tip of the iceberg. The consequences of getting a DUI aren’t just material, but metaphysical as well.
If you are lucky enough as I was to walk away without hurting someone in a wreck, you can expect to pay around $25,000. That’s what it cost me all in with my attorney, state fees, and insurance costs. I lost my job at the time because I couldn’t drive for a month, and after that, I had a restricted license that only allowed me to commute to and from work for a calendar year.
I’d pay 10,000x that if it meant I got to still stay here in society with you all and hopefully impact one driver to not drive this holiday season. So avoid driving. Make this holiday season the special and awkward one it deserves to be. Don’t add to the drama. Trust me, your family, and those other families out there don’t need it.