New Year celebrations: do not drink and drive

"Drinking and driving: there are stupider things, but it's a very short list"� Author unknown. Drinking and driving can be attributed to a large percentage of road accidents each year in many parts of the world. A poor choice and a bad judgement may not just affect your life once you get behind the wheel after drinking, but it could affect the life of someone else

“Drinking and driving: there are stupider things, but it’s a very short list” Author unknown. 

Drinking and driving can be attributed to a large percentage of road accidents each year in many parts of the world. A poor choice and a bad judgement may not just affect your life once you get behind the wheel after drinking, but it could affect the life of someone else. Many a time, the poor choices made as a result of drink-driving can lead to the devastation of families, communities and a nation as a whole.

Moreover, as you would have thought, very few people set out to drive while impaired by alcohol. Rather, alcohol impaired driving results from a combination of decisions about drinking and decisions about driving. The sequence of these decisions brings the two acts together in place and time.

It can be argued that a decision to drink-drive is not one that is necessarily a result of one single action; instead, a series of events are believed to lead to such an outcome. Generally speaking, drink-driving is greatly influenced by contemporary social attitudes towards the practice. Many members of our society feel that it is perfectly acceptable to go to a bar with friends and/or colleagues and have one drink and then drive home. After all, in most cases we are talking about responsible adults who can control themselves. However, the commitment to stick to the principle of consuming one alcoholic drink and then drive home is more often than not a futile one because soon, the jovial fella ends up consuming two, three, or many more units of alcohol. In addition, although laws and law enforcement can help change social attitudes, the reverse is much more likely; changes in social attitudes can lead to stricter laws and law enforcement. The general trend in social attitudes at least in many countries has been toward a lessened tolerance for drinking and driving.

But, it does not have to be this way…

If there’s a chance you may drink alcohol, always leave your vehicle at home

If you are going out for a drink, always leave your vehicle at home. Remember it only takes one or two drinks to push you over the limit. While this argument may seem obvious, many people tend to ignore it for the temporary convenience of making a quicker outward journey. After a few drinks, however, the prospect of travelling home via public transport or waiting for a taxi may not seem so appealing, and that’s when people get into problems.

Of course, there are plenty of alternative ways to get home. Rather than wait for a taxi, try to book one in advance. If using public transport, check the schedules ahead of time so you don’t have to hang around at the bus stop or on a street corner. You may also want to consider arranging a lift with a friend who hasn’t been drinking.

Public education and awareness campaigns

It is difficult to change public attitudes and behaviours with respect to drink-driving through public education campaigns, at least in the short-term. This is especially true among those at highest risk for drunk driving. Nonetheless, such programmes can help build public support for addressing the problem and can help publicise changes in drink driving laws. When they are used, public education and awareness campaigns to discourage drink-driving should be tailored to particular segments of the population. For instance, although young drivers are especially difficult to persuade, such campaigns are more likely to be effective if they exploit the influence of peers on the behaviour of young drivers and emphasise the negative social consequences of drink-driving rather than the health and legal risks. For mature drivers, it is simply the question of the message hitting home. These campaigns must be able to address the over-inflated pride and egos of our mature drivers who feel that leaving a car home in favour of alternative transportation on a night out of drinking somehow degrades one’s self-worth. What is in fact true is that when you are found passed out on a steering wheel of your car, you can be rest assured that your ego will plummet hysterically.

To sum up, there are no viable excuses for driving under the influence of alcohol. Also, the perceived sobering-up tricks do not work. Drinking water will only hydrate your body but will have no impact on the level of alcohol in your body. Instead, whatever you do, think! Always remember the risks and penalties of drink-driving. Drinking alcohol impairs your ability to drive and can lead to loss of life, all of which can be avoided. Let us start a new year with new socially responsible attitudes. Happy New Year!

junior.mutabazi@yahoo.co.uk

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