81.8% of WSU students report using alcohol in the past 12 months and 1 in 18 WSU students have reported driving a car while under the influence of alcohol in the past 12 months according to Boynton Survey in 2018.

handing someone their keys

Photo by: Kelsa Katzfey ’21

Driving while under the influence can cause serious and extreme consequences such as severe injury or death. You might think that you are “okay to drive” after just a couple drinks or sleeping it off, but you’re not.

According to niaaa.nih.gov, 1,825 college students die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes. Getting behind the wheel when you have been drinking or getting into the car with a driver who has been drinking is dangerous even when you are of the legal drinking age.

The major dangers

According to psycom.net, Every state in the U.S. has adopted .08% blood alcohol concentration as the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle for adults 21 and over. In Utah though, their BAC is now .05% as of 2019. If you’re under 21, you can’t drive with any level of alcohol in your system.

Although your BAC may be under the legal limit to drive, driving under the influence is never a good choice. It can lead to harmful situations because any alcohol can impair judgement and you might not even show signs of being drunk.

Drinking a water, eating a snack or napping for a few hours after drinking just doesn’t cut it. You are not legally sober after that long because your body hasn’t had a chance to process out the alcohol. It takes about an hour for each drink you’ve had to process out the alcohol in your system. So yes, alcohol is still in your blood stream and your judgement is still impaired!

Major dangers of drinking and driving include; slow reaction time, lack of coordination, less concentration, inadequate judgement and impaired vision. These can all lead to serious injuries or death when getting behind the wheel drunk.

Other options besides driving drunk

Since drinking and driving is illegal, dangerous and can result in serious consequences, there are many other alternatives that you can do instead. These include:

1. Walking

If it is a nice day out, walk with a friend or group of people to your destination. Everyone can always use a little sunshine or fresh air and walking is always a better option than driving under the influence.


2. Not drinking alcohol 

If you choose not to drink any alcohol at all, go ahead and drive! A sober driver is a safe and smart driver.


3. Take a Lyft or Uber 

Winona has Lyft’s just waiting to take you safely to your next destination. Just use the app for a cheap ride anytime of the day. Split a ride with your friends for an even cheaper ride.


4. Have a designated sober friend 

Make sure if you take a car and yourself and your friends are drinking that you either have a designated sober driver to drive you or a sober friend to call. Designating a sober friend is a smart way to keep everyone safe and to ensure nobody feels pressured to drive.

5. Use WSU safe ride 

In case you find yourself downtown Winona on the weekend and you’re not sure how to get back home, WSU safe ride will pick you and get you back safely. Take a look at their schedule and driving times.

Moral of the story is, don’t drive drunk. Driving drunk could not only cause serious problems for yourself, it can kill someone else. Be smart and don’t let yourself or your friends drive drunk.