The key – planning ahead
In a recent survey to of British Columbians who drove when they thought they were over the legal limit, 36% report doing most of their drinking at the home of a friend or relative; almost 25% report doing most of their drinking at a party; and 17.2% report doing most of their drinking at a bar.
You can have a great deal of control over your impaired driving risk. The key is to be aware of the risks and to plan ahead to protect yourself and others. Why take a chance when the risks and the consequences are so great?
Of course, the best way to reduce your risk is to never drive after consuming any alcohol and to never accept a ride from another driver who has been drinking. Here are some other things you can do:
- take turns being the designated driver – when it’s your turn, stick to beverages without alcohol
- consider leaving the car at home when you plan to drink – public transit or a taxi are safer options for getting home
- plan to spend the night and drive home the next day after the effects of the alcohol have worn off
Drugs and driving
Illegal drugs impair your ability to drive safely. But did you know that many prescriptions or over-the counter medications can also impair your driving ability? Check the labels on your medications to ensure that they will not affect your ability to drive safely. If your driving ability is at risk, plan alternative ways to get around while you are taking the medication.
Driver fatigue is another form of impairment and it can have disastrous consequences. Being tired is a leading cause of crashes causing one in five of BC’s traffic-related fatalities. Especially on long trips, it’s important to plan ahead and make sure you start out after a good night’s sleep. There are a number of other things you can do to make sure you don’t become a fatigue statistic:
- Allow enough time to get to your destination. Make sure you allow for plenty of rest breaks: stop at a rest stop and go for a walk, change drivers or take a nap.
- Break up your trip into shorter driving days and avoid overnight driving.
- While you’re driving, keep a window open for fresh air, make sure the temperature in the car is not too hot, turn on the radio or talk to a passenger, or even yourself.