Memorial Day is just around the corner here in NC, and with it comes get-togethers, cookouts, fun in the sun…and drinking. While drinking can be enjoyable for adults, drinking and driving can lead to a DWI.
In fact, Memorial Day is the fifth most dangerous holiday in terms of DWI fatalities, with a 54% higher risk than average, and it is the second most dangerous holiday weekend. As for the legalities of driving while impaired in North Carolina, it is illegal to drive with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, with sizable fines and sentences if you get caught.
So what can you do if you want to drink as a guest at a Memorial Day barbeque, or if you’re a host who wants to ensure that your guests have a good time while still staying safe?
Here are some tips for both party-goers and party hosts that will help to avoid any Memorial Day DWIs.
7 Tips for Avoiding a DWI on Memorial Day
Choose a designated driver. One of the best ways to avoid getting a DWI if you plan on drinking at a get-together is to select a designated driver who won’t be drinking. Make sure this person is someone you can trust to keep their word and not imbibe.
Call a cab, Uber, or Lyft. If you’ve had a little too much to drink at your Memorial Day barbeque and you haven’t designated a driver, you can always take a taxi, or use a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft. Yes, these options cost money, but it’s better than the fines and court costs you’ll incur if you get caught drinking and driving!
Stay the night. If you can’t find someone to take you home after you’ve been drinking, the next best option is to stay overnight at the host’s house. Alternatively, you can stay at a hotel (as long as you can find someone to take you there).
Pay attention to guests. If you’re hosting a Memorial Day party, it’s important to keep an eye on your guests to determine if anyone is becoming inebriated. Do your part to keep drunk drivers off the road and prevent DWIs by being a responsible host.
Provide alternative drinks. Don’t serve only alcohol at your cookout — provide other types of drinks such as iced tea, soda, and water as well. Encourage your guests to alternate alcoholic with non-alcoholic drinks to reduce the chances of getting drunk.
Stop serving alcohol early. It’s a good idea to cut off the alcohol supply a couple of hours before the end of the party. This will reduce the risk of guests trying to drive immediately after drinking, and will also provide some time for guests to sober up a bit.
Take the keys. If worse comes to worst and someone tries to drink and drive, the best thing you can do is take their car keys. They may become angry at you, but you’ll prevent them from getting a DWI (and you may very well save their life).
Driving while impaired is a serious offense in NC. It’s far better to avoid a DWI if at all possible rather than lose your money, freedom, or reputation. However, if you do get caught drinking and driving, a reputable attorney experienced in DWI can help.