When your plans include alcohol, you must ensure they also include a sober ride home. Unfortunately, far too many people drive impaired without realizing impaired driving can occur well before you reach the legal limit of .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC). You might not feel impaired, so you get behind the wheel, putting yourself and everyone else on the road in danger. Further, you could face serious legal consequences. The best thing you can do if you are going out for drinks is to leave your car at home. If you were already out before deciding to drink, leave your car where it is and come back for it the next day. There are plenty of ways to get a safe and sober ride home.

Here are six of our favorites:

1. Designate a Sober Driver

Before you go out, have your friends choose someone to stay sober all night or ask for volunteers. Many bars offer free soft drinks to designated drivers and mocktail menus are becoming increasingly popular. If you are the designated driver, remember your friends are counting on you to get them home safely.

2. Choose Not to Drink

One of the safest things you can do is to choose not to drink. Agreeing to be the sober driver for your group will help make sure you and your friends all get a safe ride home. As mentioned above, this is a responsibility easily shared among groups. Step up when it is your turn, you CAN still have fun while staying sober!

3. Use Public Transportation

If you live in an area where public transportation is available, use it! Taking a bus, light rail, subway or train is a responsible choice rather than risking your life behind the wheel. Map your routes and check timetables before you go out, since some of these services may run less frequently at night.

4. Call a Rideshare or Taxi Service

Ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft make it easy to get a safe ride home.  Be sure you have the app installed before you go out and take advantage of programs, such as SoberRide, which can provide payment credits. If you prefer to use taxi service, get the number ahead of time or ask the bartender.

5. Call a Family Member or Friend

If you find that you can’t get home safely another way, call a family member or friend to pick you up. People who care about you would be devastated if you were injured or killed in a crash. If possible, make arrangements with this person ahead of time and offer to return the favor or provide money for gas.

6. Stay the Night

Not at the bar, but at a friend’s house, of course. If you had a lot to drink, avoid the temptation to leave in the middle of the night, since you may not be as sober as you think. There is also the possibility that you might also be – impaired the next day, so don’t be too eager to immediately get behind the wheel the following morning.

Safety takes Some Planning but Could be a Lifesaver

Ensuring you and your friends aren’t tempted to drive impaired may take a small amount of planning on your part, but it’s worth it for your safety and the safety of others on our roads. Be the MAKE A PLAN Driver and spread the word about how to always get home safely.