Saint Patrick’s Day is the perfect excuse for attending parades, eating corned beef and cabbage, and (more often than not) enjoying a few pints. We all know the terrifying statistics about drunk driving, statistics that only get worse on holidays. But driving under the influence (DUI) can be costly in more ways than one.
Here’s our best advice: don’t drink too much. But if you do happen to over-imbibe, see why planning alternatives to driving might be the best idea since green beer.
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5 ways to avoid driving if you’re going to be drinking
First off, we recommend trying not to overdo it. Did we say that already? Ok. That being said, on days like Saint Paddy’s Day, when you can’t resist toasting the Irish, here are 5 ways to take driving out of the equation altogether.
1. Ask a non-partygoer to chauffer ($0)
Even for a designated driver (DD), it can be all too easy for one drink to become too many, leaving you without a safe ride home. While some people might make great DDs, removing the possibility of overindulgence is probably your safest bet.
Asking a friend or family member that’s not attending the party can work well. This simple step can prevent a DD, or any other partier, from getting a DUI unexpectedly or causing harm to others.
- In my experience, this tactic works best when the voluntary chauffer is not attending the party.
- Asking a friend or family member well in advance of the celebration gives you time to ask around if people are busy.
- It’s nice to throw the driver 20 bucks or offer to return the favor in the future.
2. Take the bus or train (≤$5)
If your area provides easily accessible bus or train travel, this is a really great option. You might be riding with other intoxicated people, which can be annoying. But there’s no arguing that this method of travel is affordable and doesn’t begin to compare to the hefty DUI fines.
- At a certain point, the buses or trains might stop running, so know the departure times in advance. And watch the clock closely. (Setting a reminder on your phone helps.)
- Don’t count on the last departing train. This gives you a cushion if you’re unexpectedly delayed.
- Consider any significant increases in public transit traffic. If every partygoer’s trying to get on the same trains in a crowded city, you might have to let a few pass before you can ride.
3. Use ride-sharing services ($14)
This’ll only work for residents of large cities served by ride-sharing apps like Lyft, Uber, or Sidecar.
Yes, you might have to wait a long time before your ride shows up, especially at 2 a.m. when the bars close and all the responsible people out there are not driving. But the inconvenience and cost are totally worth the risks and costs of drunk driving.
- Download the app and load your payment info before you head out for the night.
- Try to plan your commute around high-demand times. Watch out for temporary “surge pricing,” which can go into effect when cars are most in demand.
- Many of these companies offer free or discounted rides on holidays, so all the more reason to take advantage.
4. Go old school and call a taxi ($50+)
Ask yourself, what’s $50 now compared to thousands of dollars in the long run? Even though it may seem expensive when you have to shell out cash at the end of the night, in comparison with the cost of a DUI, it’s nothing. And totally worth avoiding the risk.
- Save a few numbers for cab companies in your phone. It’s always good to have these for future reference. Otherwise, bartenders usually have go-to numbers on hand.
- You might have to wait awhile for your taxi to show up, so don’t wait until the last minute to call. Requesting a car a bit before you intend to leave works well.
5. Host the party (cost varies)
Playing host has its own responsibilities, but one major advantage is not needing to travel anywhere. You could even ask guests to bring their own drink of choice, which keeps costs down. No matter how you slice it, this is still a much better, safer, and more affordable option than trying to drive and risking a DUI or worse.
Just be sure to pay attention to how much your guests have had to drink. Offering up a couch for the night is always a great option for those who overindulged.
Forget luck! Keep these tips in mind as you celebrate and have a safe and festive Saint Patrick’s Day.