Drinking can be fun. Driving can be fun. But together? Not fun!
So we are heading for the party season and we all want to make merry and enjoy ourselves and I'm the last person who would want to curtail someone having a good time. However, when we are driving we have an inescapable responsibility to look after ourselves, our passengers and all other road users regardless of what they are doing.
I could come up with lots of statistics about the dangers of drinking and driving, the general risk for young or inexperienced drivers, the effects of alcohol on the various parts of the brain and the changes in attitudes after drinking. I could also list the various drinks and the number of units and how long it takes for it to dissipate in your system. I could try to dissuade you by telling you what might happen if the police pull you over, breathalysed, arrested, locked up, disqualified. I could put up videos for you to watch to try to get across the dangers of drink driving, some so gruesome that they will make you feel sick, others so heart-rending that they will make you cry and some so bland you wouldn't even notice. But I'm not going to do any of those things.
Instead I'm just going to plead with you to make this commitment. "I will not drink at all if I am driving or if I am going to be driving in the next 12 hours. If I am going to be driving then I will not have a drink for 12 hours before even if that means not drinking the previous evening." This is the only way to be sure. Even one drink will affect your ability to drive the car at the standard you normally do so it is simply not worth it.
Many of my pupils have said to me that they don't drink and that is fine but sometimes at Christmas things change and people might have one or two. If you do, remember the commitment you made above and don't drive. Finally, if you are offered a lift by a friend or acquaintance and they have been drinking, don't accept, encourage them not to drive and get a taxi... it's simply not worth it.
Wherever you are, take care on the roads during this festive season.
I wish you all the very best of Merry Christmases and a Happy, Fruitful and Prosperous New Year.