Impaired driving is the leading cause of criminal death in our country. With the help of activists like MADD Canada and stricter law enforcement, the number of drunk driving incidents has been on a steady decline since the mid-80’s. No one likes to confront a friend who may have had a little too much to drink, but not doing so can result in a much worse situation. Driving impaired has been recognized as a criminal offence in Canada since 1921. It is a decision that can cause someone to have to live with a criminal record, lose their licence, or much worse, kill themselves or someone else. Drinking and driving is extremely preventable, and as a host, there are many things you can do to help your guests make the right decision.
Have a plan before the night begins. As a responsible host, it’s wise to anticipate things before they happen. If you expect that some of your guests might over-indulge, set aside some money for cabs, or recruit another driver to get them home safely. Having a safe alternative ready will make the decision easy.
Serve plenty of food for your guests to enjoy. You don’t need to be a chef to throw a great party. If you don’t know your way around the kitchen, don’t let it stop you from putting out a delicious spread for your guests to enjoy. Your local supermarket has plenty of options from pre-made trays to elaborate catering platters that can be ordered ahead of time.
Don’t feel obligated to top up your guest’s drinks. Of course you want to make sure your guests are enjoying themselves, but allow them to serve themselves, or better yet, hire a bar tender to keep an eye on things.
Serve up interesting non-alcoholic drinks at your gathering. Give your guests something to be excited about besides a traditional cocktail. Offer specialty coffees or hot apple cider to encourage your guests to balance out their consumption. People are more likely to drink one too many if all they have in front of them is a bottle of wine.
Have a place for overnight guests. You never want someone to feel like they need to drive home because that’s their only option. Assume a few people might stay the night, and have some blankets and pillows handy so they know they are welcome.
Don’t drink too much yourself. It’s difficult to be a responsible host if your own judgement is impaired. By all means, enjoy yourself, but recognize that your guest’s safety and wellbeing is in your hands. You never know when a situation might arise that requires you to be on top of your game. Throwing a great party also means making sure everyone gets home without a scratch.