Drunk driving is a serious problem in America. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 37 people in the U.S. die in drunk-driving crashes every day. That’s one person every 39 minutes. 

And it’s only getting worse. In 2021, 13,384 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths, a 14% increase from 2020. The worst part? These deaths were all preventable.

But even if you put aside all the deaths caused by drunk driving, it’s still a serious crime. The legal drinking age in the U.S. is 21, and the permissible amount of blood alcohol content (BAC) while driving is up to 0.08%. 

If you are caught with more than 0.08% BAC in your system, you could face serious consequences, such as losing your driver’s license, getting fined, having your insurance rate go up, and more.

As a result, it’s better to be safe than sorry by planning a way to get home that doesn’t involve drinking and driving. Here are six for you to consider:

1. Have a designated driver

If you’re going out with friends, one of the easiest ways to avoid drinking and driving is to appoint a designated driver. This is someone who agrees not to drink for the night so they can drive everyone else home safely.

Of course, you should rotate the role of the designated driver each time you go out to keep things fair. Depending on the size of your group and how often you go out, this could mean you only need to be the designated driver every month or so.

2. Get someone to pick you up

Another good option to avoid drinking and driving is to have someone pick you up. This could be a family member or a friend. Depending on your relationship with them, you may want to offer to pay them for their service.

It’s also important to plan ahead what time you’ll go home so that the driver knows when to get you. Be respectful of their time by being ready to go once they arrive.

3. Use a ride-sharing service

If you don’t want to burden someone you know with picking you up, consider hailing a rideshare driver. The most common ride-sharing platforms are Uber and Lyft. You can download their apps, add your payment information, and quickly request a driver to pick you up wherever you are. 

Of course, a ride-sharing service will cost you. In fact, it’s probably the most expensive transportation option on this list. However, it’s also highly convenient. You don’t need to schedule your ride ahead of time (unless you want to), which means you don’t have to commit to a time to leave. You can play the night by ear and stay flexible about when you go home.

Just make sure to check that the driver has their car tags (look for an Uber or Lyft sticker on the front windshield) and ask for their name to match it with the information you have on the app.

4. Use public transportation

Many cities offer public transportation options such as buses, metros, and subways. These can be an affordable way to get home safe after drinking. 

Make sure to check the routes and schedules ahead of time to confirm that they can take you home at the time you want to go. It’s also a good idea to buy your ticket ahead of time so that you don’t have to worry about getting it right before you have to leave or while you’re impaired.

5. Stay the night 

In some cases, you may be able to stay the night instead of going home. For example, if you’re drinking at a friend’s house, you could ask to sleep over. Or if you have a friend or family member who lives nearby, you could ask to stay with them. This way, you don’t have to worry about getting home right away.

Just make sure you make sleeping arrangements in advance so that your host is prepared. And remember to bring any luggage you’ll need (e.g. extra clothes, toiletries, sleeping gear, etc.). 

6. Walk

Don’t live too far from where you’ll be drinking? Then you may be able to walk home. But be cautious since walking home drunk can still be dangerous, especially in a busy city where there’s lots of traffic. Choose this option only as a last resort.

As a safety measure, you may also want to bring a flashlight and bright or reflective clothing that you can wear on your walk home. Walking in the dark can be dangerous as it is. Don’t make it even more dangerous by walking in the dark while drunk.

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, there’s no excuse to drink and drive. However, if you do end up in a DUI accident, be sure to consult a reputable DUI and DWI attorney. They can help protect your rights and ensure you get a fair trial by presenting any mitigating factors.

But again, it’s better not to drink and drive in the first place. It puts you, passengers, and other drivers at serious risk. It’s simply not worth it. Remember that the next time you get behind the wheel after a night out drinking.