Thursday, November 25, 2010

Drunk Drivers…

I love the holiday season and everything that goes with it. I enjoy the shopping, the baking, buying gifts (when certain some ones give me their list), eating great meals, the decorations, the lights and yes even a glass or two of wine. But one of the things I dread is hearing about drunk drivers and their accidents.
By now surely everyone knows that mixing alcohol and driving can be a disaster. In a split second the lives of many people can profoundly change forever. The fact that it is avoidable, just makes these accidents all the more tragic.

Of course, after you have had a few drinks, your judgment is impaired to the point that you always feel ok enough to drive. Many of us have done the same thing when we were younger and were just lucky enough to be spared a lifetime of guilt for killing someone while under the influence. So, the best idea in my opinion, is if you know you are going to be drinking, be prepared to sleep over at your guest’s house, or to call a cab or have a designated driver take you home.

I gave that same advice/sermon to my older daughter. I insisted that if there was any drinking at all, she should not get behind the wheel of a car. And, if she was with anyone who was drinking, she should not get into their car. If you thought I was going to get away with laying down the law just like that, you’d be wrong. Young people today can try to talk their way out of anything. I also got a lecture in return about how an ounce of alcohol works it way through the body and virtually disappears in a couple of hours. So, if your last drink was two hours before you drive, you should be fine. I wasn’t buying that scientific propaganda. I, using my God given common sense, wondered aloud that how can that possibly be true for everyone. Would that rule apply equally to someone who weighs 110 pounds and someone who weighs 210 pounds? Or to someone who ate a big dinner versus someone who had little to eat? There are variables. Bottom line, no drinking and driving period.

My reasoning has gotten a lot sharper since I became a parent. I also explained that, even if a person has one drink and is perfectly fine to drive, if they get in a accident that isn’t their fault, it may well become their fault if it was determined that they were drinking. I reminded my angel that she is under my insurance and that I would be sued if there was an accident and my insurance would go up and it would be my financial future on the line. So I made my point, and being the smart, intelligent chip off the old block that she is, she got it. But, how many young people today don’t get it?

It sickens me every time I hear about a car, with six teenagers in it, plowing into a tree and there being no survivors. I can only imagine the anguish of the six sets of families, the devastating loss, the hopes and dreams they had for those children stolen by one poor moment of judgment. It’s bad enough when accidents happen that may be unavoidable, but driving drunk is avoidable.

At this time of year many college students are home for the holidays and they want to party with their friends, which is only natural. When my daughter has friends over, and there is going to be alcohol involved, I told her anyone who drinks has to sleepover. If anyone wants to go home, they cannot drink, period. I will not live the rest of my life feeling responsible for a tragic accident and I knew my daughter would feel the same way. I wish all parents would talk to their kids before they reach drinking age and get through to them. Maybe some of these tragedies could be avoided.

This year I pray there are no deaths due to drunk driving. Let’s put the “happy” back in Happy Holidays!


  1. We've taken that same approach with our children, and their friends when they are here. In fact, we have one sleeping in the youngest's room right now. I've always been the preacher of even if you have one, don't drive. It makes it that much easier to decide whether or not you should. You shouldn't...period. As a non-drinker I'm the first to admit I don't get drinking anyway, but I do make it a lot easier on my husband...he always has a built-in DD.
    You do also bring up a tricky point though. How long should a person wait after their last drink? If someone is partying until 2 or 3 am, sleeps until 6 or 7 are they still impaired? I just don't know.
    Not to make this longer than it already is, but my oldest had a friend since elementary school die in a horrific car crash when he was in high school. She was devastated. She wore a ribbon in his honor, as did many classmates. Then the story came out he was DUI. I pretty much made my daughter take off that ribbon. I explained it's horrible he passed away, and in the manner in which he did, but honestly he made a choice that night, and one that I don't want to see glorified by her wearing in memorial a ribbon in his honor. She did get what I was saying, even though I did feel badly for saying it.

  2. It's a tough situation. Kids don't get it untilthey experience a tragedy themselves. They think they are invincible. My daughter also experienced the death of a high school classmate to a terrible car accident. No drinking was involved as far as I know and maybe he was not at fault. But, she was devastated and it hit home. I kept saying how bad I felt for the parents, it's the worst thing that can happen to them.

    As far as your daughter and the ribbon, I'm not so your I would have done the same thing. It may have comforted her to wear it and feel like she was "doing" something to honor his memory and their friendship without necessarily glorifying the drinking. We all have our own ways of parenting and I can understand why you did what you did. I wish all parents would take the time to deal with this issue head on before they experience tragic consequences. I am always worried when my daughters are onthe road. Even if I trust that they will be careful, there are too many people who aren't.