How to dodge drinking as the designated driver

Girl handling seatbelt clip into position.

Published 9 April 2021
Last updated 12 April 2021

Read this guide to understand the penalties of drink driving. Get some some great tips for enjoying a night out without the beer.

The THINK! drink and drive campaign

Picture this: you’re on a night out with your mates, and you’re the ‘designated driver’ – the guy/girl who’s bravely decided to stick to mineral water while everyone else is downing pints. 

Now, check out this video from our friends at THINK! then we’ll meet you back here in 5.

What did you think? Pretty powerful stuff, isn’t it? For the benefit of those people who cannot watch the video right now, it shows a group of friends on a night out. One of the lads keeps trying to drink his beer but, before he can down that sweet nectar, his friends find a variety of amusing ways to trash his pint. The whole point of the piece is to show that real mates do not let their driver (who is also their friend) drink and drive. 

Now if ‘Stick to the cokes, son’ seems a bit drastic to you, then think about this: in 2015, 170 young people between 17 and 24 years of age were killed or seriously injured in reported accidents when over the legal alcohol limit. 170! It’s bad enough that one person was affected in this way, never mind 170. 

Caught on the hops …    

Our advice is quite simple: do not drink and drive. If you’re with a group of friends who are encouraging you to do so, then politely refuse. Tell them that if they want to get home safely (most people do!), then it’s important that they support you. It’s worth it: quite apart from all the other risks, if you’re stopped by the police for drink-driving, you could be imprisoned, banned, and face a fine if you’re found guilty. If you cause death by careless driving while under the influence of drink, you may get:

  • 14 years’ imprisonment 
  • an unlimited fine
  • a ban from driving for at least 2 years
  • an extended driving test before your licence is returned

Incidentally, being ‘under the legal limit’ might be no defence. If the courts decide that you’re ‘unfit to drive through drink’, you may still face penalties. Not really worth it, is it? 

(No) beer’s the bottom line …

You might be reading this and wondering whether there’s anything you can do to stop people trying to pressure you into drinking when you’re the one who has to drive. Well, the good news is that there is. 

  • First, have a think about your friends. When you go out as a group, who is likely to support you when other people are encouraging you to ‘have a cheeky one?’ Try and have a word with them before you leave and make it clear that you would value their support.
  • Consider non-alcoholic beer options. Gone are the days when a bottle of alcohol-free beer tasted like old socks. It’s a credible option and one that means you stay one of the girls/lads without having to put yourself – and others – in danger.
  • Finally, if people are trying to make you feel bad about doing something that will keep you the right side of the law, then ask yourself whether they are really the sort of friends that you should be hanging around with on a night out.

Ale’s well that ends well

We hope this blog has been helpful to you. If you feel anxious about your driving, then good news – help is at hand! Pop over to the Safe Driving for Life shop and pick up a copy of The Official DVSA Guide to Better Driving. It’s packed full of strategies to help you stay safe and enjoy your driving. Oh, and keep an eye on the THINK! website too – it’s another great place to learn more about safe driving and riding. 

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