The Christmas season is a busy one. There are parties to attend, friends to meet up with, and days with the family to enjoy/endure (delete as appropriate).
In many of these situations, a festive tipple isn’t out of order, but transport regularly needs to be kept in mind. Being the designated driver might not be many people’s idea of a fun time, but there are plenty of perks. Here’s the Advanced Vehicle Leasing guide to surviving the Christmas season as a designated driver.
Since it’s been accepted wisdom for decades now that drink driving is both illegal and idiotic, we highlight the benefits of being the designated driver over Christmas, and some potential pitfalls to avoid.
Soft drinks are cheaper than alcoholic ones usually, and in some cases they are free. Plenty of venues like to look after designated drivers, making their life easier and promoting a lack of drink driving. As such, you could be in for a very cheap night out; handy for covering all the presents that need buying.
Alcohol affects people differently, but after a few drinks, many will feel fuzzy-headed at the very least the following morning. Feeling worse-for-wear is rarely fun, even if the previous day was enjoyable to get to that state. It’s not just about having a nice day following the event, as it takes time for alcohol to get out of your system. A rough guide is that it takes one hour for the body to rid itself of one unit of alcohol – a pint or glass of wine has around three units. Some simple maths means that you can easily be over the limit the day after your event, restricting your ability to driver for some time to come.
If driving a group of people, arrange a leaving time to make sure any parking charges are covered for example. It means you won’t be left resenting those who are having fun as you rack up a large bill for your car. It’s worth keeping in mind that accepting any ‘petrol money’ could invalidate your insurance, so it’s safer to have the favour returned at a later date than charge for your mileage.
At the end of an evening, it’s easy to end up in a car full of drunk friends. Make sure that you remain safe, and in control of the car and situation at all times. It’s better to kick someone out than risk everyone else’s safety, both those in the vehicle and other road users or pedestrians.
If you’re not happy being designated driver, don’t say you’ll do it and then bail out halfway through the event. It’s not fair on you or those relying on a lift, and there will be a temptation to just carry on regardless. Organise public transport with others in advance or book a taxi. It doesn’t matter how you all get so a venue and back again, as long as it’s done safely.
Remember that if you are the nominated driver, it’s best not to have any alcohol at all. The legal limits are there as a warning, not a challenge.
There are a number of ways to spend an enjoyable time over the Christmas period with friends and family, which mean you can remain safe and drive. Being the designated driver is not the arduous task it might initially appear, and these days there’s not likely to be any pressure from others to drink and drive. It’s always good to keep in mind that you’ll be hangover free in the morning.
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