Summer’s a great time to throw a party. The days are longer, the weather’s warm, and people frequently take more time off work and school to relax. Unfortunately, because of the rash of parties and various celebrations, drunk driving increases during the summer. In fact, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day are three of the deadliest days of the year on the road, coming only behind Thanksgiving in terms of fatal accidents. If you are throwing a party this summer, here are 15 ways to do your part in preventing your guests from getting behind the wheel when intoxicated.
1. Plan plenty of activities and games to keep your guests entertained. Often, the more there is to do, the less they will drink.
2. When guests RSVP, make sure they have a designated driver.
3. Never serve alcohol to anyone under 21. Period.
4. Set a good example. If you’re getting drunk, your guests are far more likely to drink too much, as well.
5. Don’t force your guests to drink. If someone declines a drink, accept their answer.
6. Make sure there is plenty of food on hand, especially protein and carbohydrate-rich items like cheese and crackers, sandwiches, and buffalo wings. Avoid serving too much salt, however, since this will just make your guests thirsty.
7. Make sure there are non-alcoholic drinks available. Besides water, soda, and juice, consider mixing up some fun mocktails.
8. Use smaller cups.
9. Remember that carbonated mixers can actually increase the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol.
10. Don’t play drinking games!
11. Stop serving alcohol an hour and a half to two hours before the end of the party. This will help ensure that your guests have time to sober up before driving home. If you’re worried your guests won’t stick around once the bar closes, serve a delicious dessert and coffee.
12. But remember, coffee doesn’t sober you up; it just makes for a wide-awake drunk. Only time will make your guests sober.
13. Don’t be afraid to cut your guests off. It’s just the responsible thing to do.
14. Don’t be afraid to take your guests’ keys, if necessary, and call them a cab. They may be angry tonight, but they’ll thank you in the morning.
15. Have clean sheets and towels available so guests can stay the night if they need to. Being prepared will encourage your guests to stay over.
You can read more of these and other tips for responsible party throwing from MADD and Go Ask Alice! Be a responsible host this summer and help your guests to stay safe and sober. By throwing a fun, responsible party, you will not only be a good host, you just might save a life.
About the Author:
Andrew Y. Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Lawlor Winston White & Murphy. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was recently voted by his peers as a Florida “SuperLawyer”—an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state—and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”