Being the designated driver for an evening out is not everyone’s top choice during the Christmas season, however there are some options which could change your opinion. This week’s tips, presented by IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, are for those who feel they have drawn the short straw and been nominated to drive on a night out.
- Being the nominated driver can have its benefits, some places offer free soft drinks on a buy one get one free basis, so check out this website to see if any of your local haunts are included. https://www.cocacola.co.uk/coca-cola/designateddriver/
- If you are the driver, make sure your friends are not so tipsy that they are no longer controllable in your car. The last thing you need is a drunk friend giving you driving advice. Having someone behaving badly in a vehicle can be dangerous, and, if a passenger is proving too much of a distraction, you should pull over and stop as soon as it is safe to do so.
- Agree a leaving time with your friends and ask them to cover the parking charges (technically you may invalidate your insurance if you take any ‘petrol money’).
- Very often people just want their transport arranged and don’t mind who drives as long as it’s not them! In which case it might be worth pre-arranging a cab or minibus – don’t leave it too late as these things are best booked and paid for in advance. Research shows that women are much better at this, so gentlemen take at leaf out of their book and plan ahead!
- What about public transport? For many people taking a journey on public transport is the best option, especially if there are only one or two of you going in the same direction. But if you are in a larger group then a taxi might even work out cheaper per person.
- Remember if you are the nominated driver it’s best to have no alcohol at all, even one drink will affect the way you drive without you being aware of it.
- Not being the designated driver on a night out can also have ramifications for getting in the car the morning after. As a rough guide it takes the body 1 hour to rid itself of one unit of alcohol (a strong pint of lager or 250ml glass of wine may contain 3 units each). And the clock starts from when you finish drinking, not when you start! If you can remember what you had you can always get a rough calculation from http://morning-after.org.uk/?page_id=82 but it should only be used as a guide.
- Last but not least, if you are travelling the last part of the journey on your own, have an arrangement with someone to text them and let them know you are safely home.
Richard said: “It’s never been easier to be the designated driver with lots of national and local schemes in place to reward you for being responsible. You may even enjoy the evening more if you can remember all about it. In a close knit group of friends, if you all take your turn being the designated driver then you’re able to share the fun. Have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and remember that the designated driver doesn’t get a hangover.”