Can Uber or Lyft Be Your Designated Driver? Drink and Ride?

Don't drink and drive. Choose Uber or Lyft to get you home safely.

Since the early 1980s, drinking, and driving has become much more than frowned upon, it is illegal, and now carries severe penalties.

Every day, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver (CDC).  This is one death every 50 minutes.

Find the right answer. Make the right choice!

There is nothing wrong with socializing with friends or family over drinks at a local bar or restaurant. It’s a great way to relax and unwind after a rough day or difficult week of hard work. Just make sure you don’t drive!

Drinking and driving are universally thought of as a bad idea. It puts you as the driver and any passengers with you in a very dangerous position. You are now a threat to everyone else on the road. A fun night out may well end with disaster and regret. Plan ahead to ensure you don’t end up behind the wheel in an impaired condition. You can count on companies like Uber and Lyft to provide your designated driver. A safe ride home is just a few taps away on your smartphone!

Drink and Ride? Rideshare saves lives!

To those who drive at night, thank you for your service!

For many Uber and Lyft drivers, the rideshare business is a second job or part-time gig they do at night when their regular day is done. Others prefer the life of a night owl and just find that late-night driving suits them better.

Sooner or later, they all encounter the after-hours bar crowd and we thank them for it! Driving a buzzed or tipsy person home can be really fun. They are fresh from the party scene and in a great mood. No doubt they can get a little rowdy but it’s worth it to interact with people who are having a great time.

Then there are the really drunk passengers!

It takes a special kind of person to drive these people home and we love the drivers who do it. They have to be extremely patient and be willing to let the inebriated person take an extra minute to get safely in their back seat and get the words out to verify their destination.

They need to be able to deescalate any argument or belligerence the drunk passenger might send their way. Let’s face it, we are not on our best behavior when we have had way too many drinks! A good driver will be able to empathize with this situation and play down the behavior in order to get their charge safely home.

The challenges faced by these rideshare drivers are worth it. They save countless lives through their service as designated drivers. They also prevent their patrons from the expensive legal ramifications of drinking and driving.

The morning after drivers

Some of us are morning people and prefer to drive during the day. We get people to and from work and handle all sorts of passenger needs during the day.

One of my favorite daytime passenger trips usually comes midmorning on the weekends. These are the party people who make the wise choice to leave their car somewhere the night before.

I am a huge fan of these people!

Every time someone mentions they are going to find the car they left behind after drinking I congratulate them for their decision. I make sure not to sound condescending in any way because I truly want to reinforce the choice they made so they will repeat it always.

I recently had a young lady passenger who needed a ride downtown to where she left her car the previous night after drinking at the club. I sensed she was a little embarrassed about the situation. Some people seem to feel they wimped out by leaving their car or that it’s a sign of bad behavior to party hard and then get a ride home. I could tell this passenger was feeling that way.

This was a great opportunity! I immediately congratulated the young woman for making an awesome decision. I followed it up by letting her know that I am a dad of a 20-year-old daughter and I hope and pray my daughter will always make the wise decision she had made. This brought a smile to her face and brightened my day as well.

The next weekend brought a similar scenario but this time it was a man in his thirties who needed to retrieve his car from a bar parking lot. He mentioned that he probably could have driven home but decided against it.

I assured him it wasn’t worth the risk and told him he had made the right decision. He still wasn’t sure and complained that he was wasting part of his day off now going after his car.

I decided to lay it out for him and tell him a few stories.

I began by telling him that since I started driving for Uber & Lyft I usually take one or two passengers down to the courthouse every week for their DUI hearing. They tell me their fine is around $10,000. They also have to perform a whole lot of community service, lose their driving privileges, and for some, it can even mean jail time.

One story I shared involved a young man who had been planning a career in the Air Force. He had already served four years when he was arrested for his DUI. Instead of following his dream, he quietly separated from the Air Force because he felt there was no longer a future for him in the military. It was a life-changing event!

Another involved a young lady who confided that she had been in trouble for the first time in her life. She had a really bad break up with her boyfriend and made the mistake of trying to ease the hurt with alcohol and then driving home. I was taking her to the local zoo for her first day of community service. Her DUI story had ended with a severe penalty and she was clearly embarrassed. I think her talking about it was part of her way to do penance so I told her that I thought it was great that she was taking responsibility and “owning” it.

I think sharing these stories with the 30ish-year-old man did the trick. He actually said these words, “Holy Crap, it was a good thing I didn’t drive myself home.” It made my day!

Final thoughts

I began this article with the goal of answering the question of whether Uber & Lyft could perform the function of a designated driver. I hope I have demonstrated that it is actually a great option! There is no longer a need to make someone play tea teetotaler while they watch their friends have a good time.

Budweiser’s “Give A Damn” safe rides campaign has expanded to offer free Lyft rides to prevent drunk driving in many cities. And MADD partnered with Uber in the “Reasons To Ride” effort to offer free rides and save lives. You can even make a donation to support their efforts.

Many bars are now on board as well and have signs posted recommending a Lyft or Uber ride home. Some will even order a Lyft/Uber for you and pick up the cost!

Even if you have to foot the bill, the cost of an Uber or Lyft is much less expensive than the alternative. Drinking and driving kills. The life you save might be your own.

Find the right answer. Make the right choice!

Dan Ferrantelli

I'm Dan Ferrantelli. I discovered rideshare through my wife and daughter who used the service a full year before I decided to try it. Now I am a part-time Uber & Lyft driver and love sharing my experiences with others. I'm also an entrepreneur who has developed several businesses and I have a passion to write! I hope you enjoy the articles I post. Kind feedback is always welcome.

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