7 designated driver tips for New Year’s Eve

Here are a few ideas to make your job as Designated Driver easier.

2019 is winding down and New Year’s Eve celebrations are right around the corner. Responsible people are now stepping up and answering the call of designated driver. If you are one of these revered individuals choosing to forgo the alcohol and assume responsibility for safely transporting your friends around the festivities, then this list is for you.

Your car, your rules

Set some designated driver ground rules and discuss them with your friends ahead of time. Let them know it is literally “my way or the highway”. Here are some rules for you to consider, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to add anything else that is important to you.

  • No drinks in the car. Besides being a potential mess, the police will be out in force patrolling and in many instances setting up checkpoints. You don’t want an open container charge ruining everyone’s evening.
  • No more passengers than seat-belts. You won’t be the only ones out on the road on New Year’s Eve. Traffic will be heavier and the streets will still be filled with party goers that do not not have the forethought to enlist a designated driver. Everyone needs to be belted in. If somebody acquires a new “friend” be ready to supply taxi or ride sharing options for them if you don’t have a safe spot to provide.
  • Agree beforehand that everyone has to chip in for car cleaning the next day if there are any “accidents” inside.
  • Consider setting some arrival and departure times.
  • The music and volume is driver’s choice. (see next item for more)

Create some music playlists

That’s playlists as in plural. If the mood changes during the night, you can use different genres to either cool things down or pep things up. Things might not go so well for your friends by the end of the evening. If you are transitioning to another “scene” some folks might need cheering up. Think “I get knocked down….but I get up again!” or the theme song to Friends. Use your imagination. The point is you don’t want to be distracted by searching for songs on your phone.


Fill your tank first

With so many things demanding a designated driver’s attention on the road, it is best to gas up before you start so it is one less thing to worry about.


Bad behavior gets kicked to the curb

Let everyone know before hand that bad behavior won’t be tolerated. Be prepared to put them on the curb if they are doing anything to endanger you or the other passengers. Distracted driving is dangerous and as we’ve already discussed, there will be much more traffic that requires your attention. Make sure you have numbers to a couple taxi services handy for those bad actors (See list at bottom). Possibly set aside some emergency cab fare for them if you are feeling charitable.


No booze for you!

Don’t limit yourself to just water though. Virgin cocktails are a great choice here because it isn’t obvious you aren’t partaking and the people around you will be less likely to pressure you into drinking with them. Its also a good idea to check into the establishments you are planing to visit ahead of time. Many of these offer free virgin drinks for designated drivers. Just don’t forget to tip!

Also, beware of shots! When friends order a round for the table, you could be confronted with one that’s already paid for. Be ready to turn it down, no matter how little the alcohol content. The best thing to do is remind everyone you are driving and then offer it to a friend to drink it in your place. You could even offer it to the server if you feel the establishment won’t mind.


Time to eat!

Plan your food stops in advance but have some choices. Appetites change when imbibing. Be ready for your entourage’s food requests by giving them a few options to choose from. If your crew tends to get unruly when they are celebrating, perhaps they are better suited for the drive through.


What goes down, sometimes comes up

Accept the fact that some people literally can’t hold their liquor. Be ready for the aftermath. Keep the car very cool and be ready to kill the music and pull over in a safe spot if you hear a window come down. Always, always, always have some trash bags located strategically throughout the vehicle. Discuss their locations before the evening begins and remind everyone where they are every time you re-enter the car.


In the end, be responsible but have fun with it. Remember that by the middle of the night, odds are you will be the most attractive member of your crew. Take lots of pictures of everyone throughout the night and try to keep them hydrated to stave off their morning hangovers. Be safe!


You might also like: Tips to Sticking to your New Year’s Resolution

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