A group of friends makes plans to meet at a new bar for a few drinks after work. Appetizers are ordered along with the first round of drinks. As the evening progresses, little thought is given to the fact that everyone must get home safely without being stopped for driving under the influence.. Unfortunately, this story ends in tragedy for every family represented because no one thought to designate one person to refrain from drinking and fulfill the role of designated driver.
The better approach is to refuse to order the first round before someone steps up and volunteers to ensure everyone arrives home safely after the evening. A designated driver is an essential part of any get together where alcohol is going to be consumed. Private parties, wedding receptions, graduation celebrations, and happy hour on Friday evening offer the opportunity for one person to take the high road and avoid alcohol for one night. Traffic laws, safety risks, and common sense dictate that the person who drives each person home is capable of passing a sobriety test, which means that no alcohol is consumed.
5 Tips to be an Effective Designated Driver
Not every person in a group of friends will possess the essential qualities of the designated driver. The following tips should be utilized in order to meet certain criteria to receive the group’s approval of being a strong designated driver.
- Tip 1: Prefer non-alcoholic drinks – Individuals who prefer to drink iced tea, coke, or a virgin cocktail are perfect candidates for the designated driver. The rest of the group can rest assured that this person will not sneak a drink from an alcoholic beverage simply because of personal preference.
- Tip 2: Be a responsible driver – Friends must be certain that the designated driver has a clean driving record and a reliable vehicle. A set time for the evening to end must be set prior to ordering that first drink. The designated driver will take responsibility for ensuring that every person in the group is in the car when departure time arrives.
- Tip 3: Be alert and rested – Distractions, such as cell phones, should never be a concern for those who are trusting a designated driver. Exhaustion, emotional distractions, and illness will disqualify the usual designated driver since driving skills can be impaired in other ways.
- Tip 4: Be patient and tolerant – Dealing with a carload of drunk friends earns the designated driver a title of “drunk babysitter.” Friends will trust that the events that happen in the car will stay in the car. A drunk friend’s behavior will be unpredictable and inappropriate in some cases. Patience is a virtue when convincing the “life of the party” that the time has come to go home.
- Tip 5: Be a caring individual – A designated driver will care about the people who have trusted him to oversee the fun. Special people volunteer to care for those who are unable to reason because of a few drinks. The end of the party signals the beginning of responsibility for the designated driver.
Instructions for the Designated Driver
Specific instructions provide guidelines for the designated driver to follow each time the responsibility lands on his shoulders. Strict adherence to this list will ensure success and safety for everyone.
- DO NOT drink any alcohol – Friends are expecting the designated driver to be alcohol-free for the entire time. Attempts to time the consumption of alcohol for minimal impairment are unacceptable. Anyone who does not possess the self-control to know how to stop drinking for the evening is unqualified for the designated driver role.
- DO NOT yield to temptation – A sip from an alcoholic drink is not acceptable. Friends place complete trust in the designated driver to remain sober throughout the evening. Good friends remember that the next time someone else is responsible for refraining from alcohol.
- DO NOT drop the role – The sudden decision to drink with everyone else and forget about being the designated driver is a betrayal of trust. Other people’s lives depend on this person to follow through on the assignment. Every person in the group will have to call a cab for a ride home if the designated driver fails in his task.
- DO NOT leave a friend behind – Friends must leave the gathering place together because a commitment to the safety of each person has been made. The responsibility is serious and requires commitment. Asking someone else to provide a ride home is not acceptable since the designated driver agreed to take care of his friends.
- DO order a favorite beverage – Many different non-alcoholic drinks are available for the designated driver to enjoy throughout the happy hour and dinner. Be creative and try a new drink to add variety and interest. Most alcoholic specialty drinks are tasty without the alcohol, which is considered the Virgin drink style.
- DO allow for designated drinkers – The rest of the group will become more boisterous and less refined as time passes. The designated driver will notice traits in his friends that are surprising. Confidences must be kept to retain trust between friends. Periodic breaks from the crowd might be necessary to endure a long evening.
- DO keep the mood light – Alcohol consumption has different effects on every person. The designated driver must remember to smile and laugh at the silliness of his friends. Serious faces and voices can cause hurt feelings between friends when the mood should be fun and light.
- DO feel proud of your role – Completing the evening with every friend at home safe is a true accomplishment that is worthy of praise. The designated driver can take great pride in the fact that his friends trusted him, and he took care of their needs.
The Importance of the Designated Driver
One person must remain sober to ensure that good friends return home safely at the end of the evening. Many different events can happen that require good judgment and decision-making. Intoxicated people have been known to take life-threatening risks that can be averted with one sober friend. The designated driver might need to ask a friend to stop drinking when he feels that person has had enough. This can strain the relationship if support is lacking for the designated driver.
People who value the role of the designated driver might have had a personal experience where a friend never made it home safely. Agreement between friends is essential to set up the designated driver for success.