How to Stay Safe When Riding with or Acting as a Designated Driver

by NPHM | December 30th, 2019

Getting behind the wheel of any vehicle when you’re over the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is one of the most dangerous things you can do. To stay safe on nights out after drinking, many people appoint friends or family members ahead of time to be their designated drivers. Being a designated driver doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun, and it also means you can keep yourself, your loved ones, and others on the roadway safe and less likely to be involved in an accident.

Being a designated driver is a big responsibility, and it’s important for both designated drivers and the people they’re driving to respect the role and to do everything in their power to ensure the night ends safely. In an age when many people rely on rideshare services to get home, designated drivers aren’t as common as they used to be, but they’re still one of the most effective ways to stay safe after a night out.

Steps to Take if You’re a Designated Driver

When you’re appointed as the designated driver for the night, you’re responsible for getting yourself and your passengers home safely. Doing so means following a few important steps, such as:

  • Don’t drink, period—You may be tempted to have an alcoholic drink or two while you’re out, but it’s important to remember that buzzed driving is still drunk driving, especially if a drink or two puts you over the legal limit, which is 0.08% in the United States. In addition, even small amounts of alcohol can cloud your judgment and increase your chances of making mistakes behind the wheel. In fact, you can still receive a DUI if an officer determines you are “noticeably impaired”, even if your BAC is under the legal limit, so long as it is more than 0.00%. When it’s your turn to be the designated driver, stick to water, soda, and other non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Make sure everyone knows how they’re getting home—The most important part of being a designated driver is getting your passengers home safely. Over the course of a night out, people may attempt to change their plans or stay out later than everyone else in your party. That can increase the risk that they may drive home or ride with someone else who is intoxicated. By making plans before anyone starts drinking, you can ensure everyone in your group has a safe ride home.
  • Stay focused on the road—By definition, being a designated driver means you’ll be the sober one among a group of people who may be at varying levels of intoxication. Depending on your passengers, this could be very distracting. No matter what happens during your drive home, keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on the task at hand—driving safely. Distracted driving is dangerous, and cell phones aren’t the only things that cause it.

Steps to Take If You’re Riding with a Designated Driver

If you’ve appointed someone else to be the designated driver for the night, respect their role in making sure you and your loved ones get home safely. That means following these steps:

  • Leave on time—It can be tempting to stay out all night when you’re having fun, but doing so can derail your plans, including your ability to get a safe and sober ride home. Set a time to regroup at the end of the night with your designated driver and the rest of your party, and stick to it no matter what. Part of getting everyone home safely means making sure everyone arrives and leaves together.
  • Let your driver focus on the task at hand—Sober drivers are safer drivers, but they’re not immune to making mistakes—especially when they’re distracted. In fact, studies show that distracted drivers are just as dangerous on the road as intoxicated drivers. The point of selecting a designated driver before a night out is to get home safely, so do your part and let your driver focus on what’s most important: obeying traffic laws, watching out for other vehicles, and making good decisions behind the wheel.

What Should You Do If You’re Involved in an Accident as or With a Designated Driver?

Although designated drivers are supposed to make nights out safer, they can still be involved in accidents, especially when they are sharing the road with others who may be driving while intoxicated. At Nurenberg Paris, our Ohio auto accident lawyers help injured car accident victims get compensation after crashes that weren’t their fault, whether they were driving alone, as a designated driver, or even riding with someone else.

The injuries associated with all types of car accidents can be serious, and the medical bills may be too much for many people to bear. If you or someone you love was hurt in a designated driver crash, whether it was caused by another motorist or even your own driver, it’s important to get an experienced legal team on your side.

We know how to investigate crashes to determine who was at fault, and we can also calculate how much victims like you are owed for their accident-related expenses. Get in touch with us today—we’re ready to help you get the money you deserve.