A wedding day is a joyous occasion for family and friends to come together in a celebration of love and commitment. But as the festivities unfold, it’s essential that safety remains a top priority. One aspect that should never be overlooked is the potential danger of drinking and driving. In order to help your wedding celebration go smoothly, it is important to keep responsible drinking in mind. There are various ways to prevent drunk driving and help couples and their guests to celebrate responsibly.
What Is Drinking and Driving?
Driving under the influence, commonly known as drunk driving, refers to operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeding the legal limit. Laws regarding BAC limits and penalties for drunk driving vary by location. This dangerous practice poses significant risks to the driver, passengers, and everyone on the road. Alcohol impairs cognitive functions, affecting decision-making and reaction time.
What Are the Consequences of Drinking and Driving?
When one chooses to drive drunk, severe consequences may come to pass, ranging from personal consequences to legal ramifications and long-term, far-reaching complications. Not only can it lead to legal repercussions, but it also jeopardizes lives and can have lasting effects on the individuals responsible.
Potential Legal Consequences:
- Fees and fines
- License suspension
- Imprisonment; some states assign mandatory minimum jail time for all drunk-driving offenses
- Installation of an ignition interlock device in your personal vehicle
- Civil lawsuits
- A criminal record
Potential Personal Consequences:
How Can You Detect Drunk Drivers?
To best protect yourself and others on the road, it’s important to be vigilant. Be on the lookout for drunk drivers. Recognizing the impact of alcohol on the body and the signs of impaired driving can empower individuals to take action and prevent potential accidents.
Signs of a Drunk Driver:
- Bloodshot or glassy eyes
- Slurred speech
- The smell of alcohol in the vehicle
Signs of Drunk Driving on the Road:
- Weaving, drifting, or swerving between lanes
- Inconsistent speed or abrupt acceleration/deceleration
- Erratic braking/braking without cause
- Slow response to traffic signals and signs
- Wide or sharp, unexpected turns
- Improper headlight use at night
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Near misses with objects or other vehicles
How Alcohol Affects Driving Ability
How Can You Stop Drinking and Driving?
Preventing drunk driving is a collective effort, and there are numerous simple and practical steps that individuals can take to ensure that everyone gets home safely after any celebration that includes alcohol.
Designated Drivers: Before drinking starts, clearly establish who will remain sober and serve as the designated driver to help those who’ve been drinking stay out of the driver’s seat.
Provide Guests Alternatives:
- Offer non-alcoholic drinks at the celebration
- Arrange transportation services in advance
- Encourage the use of ride-sharing services or taxis
- If your wedding reception venue has accommodations on site, reserve a block of rooms that guests can book to negate the need for driving at all.
- Arrange for accommodations for guests who may be unable to drive safely.
Lead by Example: As a couple, model responsible behavior by not overindulging in alcohol.
Celebrating love on a wedding day is a beautiful experience, but it’s essential to prioritize safety amid the festivities. By understanding the risks of drunk driving, recognizing potential signs, and taking proactive measures to prevent drunk driving, couples can ensure that their special day remains joyous for everyone involved. Encouraging responsible choices and creating a supportive environment will contribute to a memorable and safe celebration. In some cases, a couple may even choose to forego serving alcohol at their wedding. Dry weddings can be both alcohol-free and fun!
Additional Drunk Driving Prevention Resources
- Drunk-Driving Laws and Legal Ramifications by State: Each state has different laws pertaining to drunk and impaired driving, and understanding them can help you make the best choices and understand the legal consequences should you choose to drink and drive.
- Get the Facts on Impaired Driving: Gain a better understanding of the severity of drunk driving and the impact that impaired driving has. These statistics may shock you.
- Virtual Bar BAC Calculator: The Virtual Bar app provided by Responsibility.org uses the latest technology to help consumers understand how alcohol affects everyone differently based on several different factors.
- The Facts on Drinking and Driving: Gain a better understanding of how one’s BAC level correlates with impairment and the potential consequences of drinking and driving.
- Find a Ride and Stay Alive: Don’t drink and drive. Instead, find an alternative way home.
- How Dangerous Are Drinking Drivers? A detailed report explores the dangers of drinking and driving and the real damage drivers under the influence can cause.
- Impairment Begins With the First Drink: December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. This informational page provides an overview of the problem and its importance.
- Technology-Assisted Crackdown on Drunk and Impaired Driving: The automotive industry is currently working to incorporate impairment detection into new vehicles in the hopes that it will reduce the instances of impaired driving.
- Balancing Alcohol Risk and Benefits: Making personal decisions regarding one’s choice to consume alcohol should be done with a full understanding of the risks and benefits.
- Myths and Realities of Social Drinking: A wedding is only one of many social settings where drinking alcohol may be expected or encouraged. But before you pour, it’s important to understand some myths and truths about social drinking.
- Why Do I Drink? Reflecting on the “why” behind one’s choice to drink can offer valuable insight into one’s alcohol use.
- Responsible Drinking Tips: Reduce your risk of negative consequences by choosing to drink alcohol responsibly.