If you’re like most people, you’ll want to be out with friends relaxing this weekend. For many people a good time in a social setting involves alcohol. Though it’s perfectly fine and safe to drink if you do so responsibly, it can be easy to overdo things and then wind up in legal trouble. The following are some tips that drivers can keep in mind this Labor Day weekend to avoid a drunk driving bust.
First things first, if you know you are going to drink while out and about with friends or family this weekend (or any other weekend for that matter), designate someone to stay sober. It’s important that the designated driver is identified before ever leaving home. If you try and wait until you’re out and having a good time, chances are the decision-making process will become much more difficult and fewer people will be willing (or able) to volunteer. Get the task over with early on so that everyone can relax and have a good time while they’re out.
Second, know your limit and act decisively to cut yourself off when you think it’s time. The legal limit in Minnesota is 0.08 percent and most experts agree that by limiting yourself to one drink per hour you can allow your body enough time to safely process alcohol and stay under the legal limit. If you don’t have a designated driver you have to set a time limit as well as a drink limit before heading out. Before you even take the first sip choose a time that you will stop drinking and make sure it is far enough in advance of your leaving that you will have plenty of time to sober up before hitting the road. However, the best advice is to to have a sober driver and never put yourself in a position where you have to determine if you feel sober enough to drive. If you have to think about whether you are sober, then the answer is you probably are not.
Drink plenty of water. Though drinking alcohol is what most people are after when the weather is warm and they’re having a good time, water can be a great way to control drinking. Doctors recommend that for every alcoholic beverage a person consumes they follow it with a glass of water. This helps you stay hydrated and will also reduce your urge to pound cold beers or other alcoholic drinks. Alternating between alcohol and water can help reduce your alcohol consumption and keep you under the legal limit and out of jail.
It’s also important to watch what you’re drinking and keep track of how much alcohol is actually in the drinks you’re consuming. Mixed drinks are usually the most difficult to keep track of because so much can depend on which bartender is pouring your drink. Try and pay attention if the drinks seem unusually potent and account for that difference. If your drinks have been especially strong, then even one drink may be too much. Again, a designated driver is your best option.
Finally, if you’re out having a good time this Labor Day weekend and you feel like you may have had one too many drinks, do not feel any shame in calling a cab. Some people are reluctant to turn to a taxi, saying they’d rather save the money. Everyone should realize that the few dollars spent on a cab are dwarfed by the thousands of dollars spent handling a typical DUI charge. Between attorney’s fees, court costs, fines and increased insurance costs, a cab is money well spent.