Many people like to have a few drinks from time to time. You may have a few glasses of wine when you are out on a romantic date with someone special, or grab a few beers while out with friends at a bar, nightclub, or house party one night. It’s pretty easy to get lost in the moment and lose track of how many drinks you’ve had when you’re having a great time. When the time comes to go home, you may not realize quite how much you’ve had. Alcohol really does affect your ability to not just walk in a straight line, but also to make clear, intelligent decisions. Many responsible, upstanding people have found themselves driving behind the wheel far too intoxicated to be driving safely. As regularly discussed over at ProjectKnow.com, far too many supposedly responsible people have gotten themselves in trouble all because they got behind the wheel after a few drinks.

So what happens if you do drive drunk? The best case scenario is that you make it home safe and sound without injuring yourself, your vehicle, or your car. Alcohol is a sedative, however, and it not only causes you to have trouble focusing on the road, but it also can affect your reaction time while driving. So the ability for you to enjoy this best case scenario isn’t within your control when you are inebriated drunk.

Another option that may very likely happen is that you are stopped by the police. Sometimes an upstanding citizen may spot you driving erratically and phone 911 to report you. Other times, the police may spot your erratic driving themselves. When you get pulled over, the police will conduct a sobriety test on you, and if you are deemed to be driving under the influence, you will be carted off to jail. Even with the best dui attorneys working on your behalf, the penalties that you could face could be significant. You may face monetary fines, be forced to do community service, spend time in jail, or even lose your license depending on the circumstances. This may sound like the worst option possible, but there is one option that is far worse.

The last option is that you do get in a car accident. Almost 11,000 people died in 2009 from people driving while intoxicated. If your accident kills or injures someone else, you will not only face legal charges, but you will be forced to live with that guilt for the rest of your life. You could also injure or kill yourself in the accident.

The fact is that there are some very easy steps you can take to prevent these events from occurring. You simply have to appoint a designated driver who will not drink for the evening and who assumes the responsibility to drive you home. When you have keys in your hands and have been drinking, it is far more difficult for you to make a rational decision. Appointing a designated driver before you’ve had that first sip can help to make your fun night out with friends or family from turning into one of the worst nights of your life.