The next month will present some difficult situations for teens as you will eventually end up a party. Whether it is for Christmas, New Year’s Eve or just a regular party, you will inevitably be in a situation where you are offered a drink (or two). As a teenager, you are given more freedom and with that freedom comes responsibility. You have a responsibility to yourself, your friends, your family and to anyone on the road.
- Responsibility to yourself – Whenever you take a sip of alcohol, you need to understand that you are now putting yourself at risk of being arrested. In Missouri, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol. If you get behind the wheel of a car after even having any sort of alcohol in your system, you can be arrested for drinking and driving. Not to be taken less seriously, but a minor in possession is a misdemeanor in Missouri. Take responsibility for yourself by not putting yourself in a situation where you embarrass yourself by being arrested.
- Responsibility to your friends – Going back to drinking and driving. If you get in the car after drinking and you are transporting others, you put your friends in danger. Driving in a car with friends can be distracting enough. Adding in alcohol to the equation is a risk to yourself and your friends. Getting into a wreck while drinking and driving with other people in the car leaves you with the responsibility if someone gets seriously injured or worse. Instead, it is better to designate a sober driver. Be courteous to them as they are your ride home.
- Responsibility to your family – I know before I headed out to a party (even after I turned 21), my mom told me to never drive if I have had a drink. Explaining a DUI to your parents is a lot harder than calling your parents to tell them you need a ride home from your friend’s place.
- Responsibility to anyone else on the road – The moment you step into your car after you have had a drink, you put yourself and other drivers on the road at risk of being in an accident. Do not be selfish and put yourself on the road when you know you can cause harm to other people than just yourself. It just is not worth it.
To summarize, here are a few tips for you when you are partying this holiday season (or any time of the year):
- If you take a drink, do not get behind the wheel of your car
- Understand that if you are in possession of alcohol, you are at risk for a misdemeanor for being a minor in possession
- Eliminate distractions during driving by not having a large group of friends in your car that have been drinking
- Call your parents (or a trusted, responsible adult) if you have had a drink
- If you do not want your parents to know you were drinking: stay the night at the party and drive home the next morning
- Get a designated driver. Some people can enjoy themselves without drinking. Be courteous to your driver by respecting them while they are driving you home.
- Be conscious of who you are responsible for other than yourself: your family, your friends and other people on the road