Being a good friend can mean a lot of different things in different circumstances. When it comes to drinking? One of the most important things you can do as a friend is ensure that your friends do not drunk driving. While it’s not exactly your job to make sure someone else makes the right decision, by keeping your friend off the road— you might just save their life, or someone else’s. One means of making sure your friend doesn’t drink and drive is to take keys away from them early in the night. Make it a condition of the evening, and give them back when they get into their ride. While it might feel awkward, make it a tradition. Watching our for your friends is nothing to be ashamed of.

How-to Take Keys and Keep the Peace: Preventing Friends’ Drunk Driving

Ask Before They Start Drinking

If you want to take keys away and make it casual, ask early in the night. Make it pact with everyone involved if you don’t want to single someone out. “Everyone turn their keys in for the evening,” should not be super alarming, but it might throw some people off. What if I want to leave early? Or, what if we lose each other? Make it clear that you’ll be in charge of the keys, or everyone can leave them at the place they plan on staying for the evening. Ask while everyone is sober, even turn it into a joke if you need to. Whatever your method, by doing so, you might just be keeping your friend off the roadway.

Avoid Becoming Aggressive

When taking keys, you want to avoid become aggressive. In some cases, drunk people can become aggressive very quickly. So they may already feel defensive and hostile. If you become aggressive or forceful when taking their keys, it can make them resist more. Then, that can add a lot of tension to an already stressful situation. Furthermore, it could also make them want to drive home. This is why we suggest asking early.

Don’t Single Anyone Out

If there’s one friend in particular that makes a habit of drinking and driving, and you want to take their keys, don’t do so as a means of embarrassment. Singling out your friend in front of others can be uncomfortable, and make them feel anxious. So, if you’re starting to get concerned— pull your friend aside and ask them quietly. Explain that you don’t feel comfortable with their driving home. If you have to, maybe even offer to pay for their ride home. The goal here is to get your friend home safe.