Country-wide, sports and drinking go hand in hand. Whether it be a baseball game, football game, hockey, or otherwise— it seems most everyone of drinking age has a drink in their hand. While this is a common pastime for most, it can also sometimes be a dangerous one. Think about it: most people spend the majority of the game with a drink in hand. In turn, the number of post-game drunk drivers on the road becomes a bit more dangerous than your average evening.

Post-Game Drunk Drivers: Sporting Events and Road Conditions

Statistics show that 48% of fans will drink at a sporting event. Furthermore, studies also show that amongst those drinking people, 82% will have more than two drinks. We know that sporting events can last anywhere from 1-4 hours which means that you could be under the legal limit, or you could not be. Ultimately, it all depends on if you tailgate before and if you hit the bars afterwards.

Charlotte in particular, is quite susceptible to these statistics and post-game drunk drivers being that we 1) have a minor league baseball team in center city, and 2) we have an NFL team practically next door to it. If you’re familiar with the city on a Panthers’ game day in particular— you know that it’s alive with fans and opponents alike. Because the stadium is in the middle of our city, it’s within walking distance of practically every bar in the area. Therefore, the majority of people will flock to nearby pubs and bars to have drinks before and after most sporting events.

So, the ultimate question is: how do we prevent post-game drunk drivers in an area that is so conducive to it?

Preventing Drunk Drivers in a Beer and Football City:

1.Use Hired Services 

The single most reliable way to secure a driver that has not had anything to drink is to use driving services. The city of Charlotte is full of safe, reliable riding options like Uber, Lyft, and even the Lightrail. Both of these options provide safe transportation after a fun night out. In addition, they are normally cheaper than using a taxi service. But Charlotte also offers a fun new way to travel throughout uptown. Many bars sponsor large golf carts that drive people through the city to get to where they need to go. This can be a fun option if your group is planning to head to a bar or restaurant uptown.

2. Pre-Determine a DD 

Another smart way to stay safe after a game is to use a designated driver. But sometimes these are not as reliable as we all hope. Decide on a DD before even going to the game. Make sure they are fully on board to take on this role. If they seem reluctant, they may not be a good option. Some DD’s get to the game and decide to drink anyways. In case that does happen, always have a back up plan. Either call someone you know has not been drinking, or pay a driver to take you home. But whatever you do, do not let the DD convince you that they are good to drive if they’ve been drinking.

3. Choose a Smart Time to Drive 

Another safe practice after ball games is being careful about when you choose to leave. Most people will be leaving right after the game. This means this will be the time of heaviest traffic, and therefore the highest volume of drunk drivers. So, be methodical about when you leave. Consider grabbing some food first, let the non-drivers grab a drink. Then, start the trek back to the vehicle and begin to head out.

The key here is that there are options when it comes to avoiding a drunk driving scenario. Keep in mind that while you drive home drunk after a sporting event, there are more police than ever out in the roadway. So, your chances of receiving a DUI are quite high, as police are aware that there will be a lot more drunk drivers than usual on the road. So drink smart, and get home safely!