Hosting a party in your home can be a lot of fun, but it can quickly turn sour if someone who has been drinking too much decides to drive themselves home. Imagine how devastating it would be to hear that someone you care about had been involved in an injurious or even a fatal accident shortly after leaving your house. While it may feel uncomfortable to tell a friend that they have had too much to drink and shouldn’t be driving, this type of confrontation is far better than the alternative.
Here are a few other tips to help you promote responsible drinking and stop drunk driving if you are planning to throw a party soon.
Do not make drinking the focal point of the party. Avoid drinking games, as these encourage rapid drinking and may cause people who are abstaining from drinking to feel left out. You should also avoid setting up your bar area so that it is the first thing people see when they walk into your home. It is okay for drinking to be a component of the party, but it shouldn’t feel like the only reason people are there.
Encourage attendees to find a designated driver before they arrive. If you are sending out invitations or creating a Facebook event, include a line in the event description encouraging attendees to find a designated driver or work out an alternative mode of transportation ahead of time. People are much less likely to try to drive drunk if their car is not at the event and they already have another way of getting home.
Give guests plenty of food to snack on. Drinking on an empty stomach causes people to start feeling intoxicated more quickly (which leads to impaired judgment and may result in people drinking even more), so make sure you have a table full of snacks. Watch out for too many salty snacks, though, as these make people thirsty and may lead to more drinking.
Offer an assortment of non-alcoholic beverages. Be sure to have a selection of sodas, juices, or “mocktails” for designated drivers or people who just don’t want to drink. Display these drink options as prominently as your alcoholic drink options.
Recruit a bartender rather than having people pour their own drinks. Consider hiring a professional bartender or recruiting a trusted friend to be the server during the party so that guests don’t start over-serving themselves. A professional bartender should have a good sense of when someone has had too much to drink and should be cut off.
Shut down the bar before the party ends. Because time is the only thing that will sober someone up, MADD recommends that party hosts close the bar about 90 minutes before the end of the party. Consider providing coffee and dessert after you have stopped serving alcohol.
See your guests out. Pay attention when saying good-bye to your guests. If someone is showing signs of intoxication and plans to drive themselves home, offer to call them a cab, drive them home yourself (if you are sober), or let them sleep on your couch.
Your party doesn’t have to end in a drunk driving accident. By demonstrating responsible hosting behavior, you can encourage your guests to be responsible while still having a good time.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of The Law Office of Andrew Winston. 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.”