How to Be a Responsible Designated Driver

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How to Be a Responsible Designated Driver (Photo: @marcobertoliphotography via Twenty20)
Being a designated driver can actually be fun. You will be the only sober one of the bunch and, well, drunk people are funny. It’s not all about fun, though. Being a good designated driver is about being the responsible one. You need to have this important reason firmly in mind when you agree to be the designated driver. Decide that you will not have even one drink and will be the responsible member of the group, but always have a plan B, just in case.

Be a responsible designated driver

Step 1: Do not drink even one drink that contains alcohol. Just say no, period. A good designated driver knows better than to have even one beer.
If you are at a bar or party where people pressure you to “have just one,” drink a virgin drink or mocktail (that’s a drink that doesn’t contain alcohol) so they will quit bugging you. Order iced tea with a twist of lemon instead of a Long Island Iced Tea. A Shirley Temple is a classic mocktail. Virgin Pina Coladas are also delicious and refreshing.
Step 2: Make a plan for the evening while everyone is still sober. If your friends aren’t likely to stick to a pre-determined departure time, at least set a time to meet up later in the evening.
That way, you can figure out how much longer everyone wants to stay and set a departure time.
Step 3: Check for open containers. Before you let your friends in the car when you are ready to head home, check them for open containers.
Don’t let them hold onto an open container so they can finish off the last few swigs of beer in the car. You are responsible if you get pulled over with an open container in the car, no matter whose open container it is. Insist that your passengers clean up any messes they make, either when they make them or the next morning, in the case that someone is sick in your car. Don’t let your passengers distract you while you drive; your job is to keep them safe.

Call a cab

Step 1: Talk to your friends about having the option to call a cab. Ask them to pitch in to pay for it. There’s no need for you to have to foot the bill for everyone else’s good time.
Step 2: Call a few local cab companies ahead of time. Find out how much a trip home will cost. Be prepared to give the taxi scheduler the address of where you will be leaving from and where you will be going to get an accurate cost estimate.
Step 3: Minimize the number of destinations to save money. If you can, let your friends stay with you for the night. The cab will cost less if you can all be dropped off at one or two destinations.
Step 4: Call a car if you couldn’t resist having a drink. A good designated driver knows better than to try to drive his or her friends home after having a drink. There’s no reason to risk both your safety and the safety of others on the road, nor take the chance of getting a DUI.
Have your money pooled and ready ahead of time or be prepared to put the charge on a debit or credit card. The better you plan and prepare ahead of time, the smoother the ride home will go.