While all car accidents are devastating and have the potential to cause fatalities and injuries, perhaps no accidents are as tragic as those involving drunk driving accidents and children. Drunk driving accidents are completely preventable – all it takes to stop these accidents is for a driver to take an alternative route home rather than driving drunk. When drunk driving claim the lives of young children, it can seem devastating that one driver’s mistakes have cost a young person their future.
If you have children, you will of course want to ensure that they are never victimized by a drunk driver. While you cannot guarantee that your children will never be affected by a drunk driver, there are things you can do to cut the risk dramatically:
1) Have a “no questions asked” phone option for your children. Make sure that your children know that they can always phone you for a ride instead of getting in a car with a drunk driver or an unsafe driver. Teach your children that if they say they need a ride “no questions asked” you will be there and there will be no negative consequences for them – even if they have been drinking. Then, stick to your word. If they take advantage of your offer, praise them for their decision to ask for a ride.
2) Make it easy for children to call you or get help when they need it. This is one area where cell phones and mobile devices really come in handy – they allow your children to reach you anywhere. Also, make sure that your children have at least a few numbers to call for a “no questions asked” ride, so that if you are not available they can still get home safely. Another option is to have an area in your home for “cab money” – if your children need to take a cab home, they can access the money easily to pay the cab driver.
3) Make sure children understand what drunk driving is. Some children may not readily understand what drunk driving is. Explain that they should never drive with someone who has even had one drink. Discuss situations which they may face which may be challenging (for example, a situation in which someone in authority insists on driving them somewhere after drinking) and discuss what they can do in these situations.
4) Never drink and drive yourself. Children will notice when you do and will be less inclined to listen to what you say if your actions contradict your words. Set a good example and your children will be more likely to follow in your footsteps.
5) Show by your actions that you do not support drunk driving. When you have friends over, start serving non-alcoholic drinks early in the night, call cabs for anyone who has been drinking, and refuse to let drunk friends drive. This will show your children what to do when they are around people who have been drinking and will teach them habits that will keep them safe.