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Teens’ experiences riding with drunk drivers

Teens’ experiences riding with drunk drivers

Have you ever been in the car with someone who was driving drunk? Unfortunately far too many teens and adults have made this mistake. According to the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 20 percent of high school students rode with a driver who had been drinking.

Safe and Sober interviewed Missouri teens to find out if they had ever been in the car with a drunk or impaired driver. Their comments reveal how scary it is to ride with an impaired driver:

  • “It was kind of terrifying.”
  • “It was uncomfortable and a poor choice on my part.”
  • “I was drunk too and I wasn’t thinking about it. Looking back was scary.”
  • “I had been drinking to so to me it seemed like it was fine…later that night I couldn’t believe that I had gotten in that car.”

On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). A large portion of these incidents could be avoided if passengers would stand up for their safety by never riding with someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Talk to your teen about the danger of riding with someone who is not safe to drive. Teach your teen these five tips to avoid a dangerous situation.

  1. Avoid parties or events that involve underage drinking in the first place. Don’t put yourself in a situation that could tempt you to have to get in the car with an impaired driver.
  2. Never assume someone that has been drinking is ‘safe to drive.’ Alcohol affects people in different ways. Just because your friend appears ‘normal,’ does not mean that they are prepared to get behind the wheel. Buzzed driving is drunk driving.
  3. Refuse to ride with friends who have been drinking. Don’t be a passive friend in a dangerous situation. Help the other passengers make a wise decision.
  4. Call your parent to pick you up if you need a ride from a sober driver.
  5. Download a ride-sharing app like Uber or Lyft. Encourage anyone that has been drinking to use this service.

As a parent, you set the example for your teen. They watch your behavior as you go out to dinner and attend social events. If you do not want your teen riding with an impaired driver, you should always make a plan for a Sober ride home.