When you are too drunk to drive, you have a few options for getting home safely. You can take a taxi, call a friend, or hang out at the bar until you sober up. However, some people choose to drive regardless of their sobriety. When they do, this can cause some problems. There’s the risk of causing an accident and of getting a DUI. To avoid either (or both) fate, some individuals attempt to sleep off their drunkenness. Unfortunately, this can come with some risks as well. Find out why you shouldn’t sleep on the side of the road.
Is it legal?
Although sleeping in your vehicle on a public road might be legal, sleeping in the car when you had too much to drink is likely against the law. Every law has different laws regarding the issue. For the most part, it is illegal under one condition. It is illegal if you sit in the driver’s seat with your keys in the ignition when you are over the legal blood alcohol content. The exact wording of the law varies. For example, turning the car on in New York is enough to make sleeping in your car illegal. Meanwhile, other states make it illegal for you to be in your car while drunk if you could set it in motion.
Just because something is illegal doesn’t mean that a police officer will arrest you for it. If an officer finds you pulled over safely and sleeping off your insobriety, then he might not arrest you. In fact, he might not even wake you. But you do still take a risk.
Whether or not you’re drunk, it is illegal to sleep on the side of a highway. No matter how tempted you might be to pull off the highway, you can’t. Parking on the highway and sleeping on the highway is against the law. If you do it and a police officer sees you, then it is likely that you will face charges. Being too drunk to drive won’t help your situation.
Is it safe?
Getting behind the wheel of a car when you are too drunk to drive is never safe. However, neither is stopping on the highway. When you make the decision to pull over on the side of the highway, you put yourself at risk. Other cars could easily swerve and hit you. If your lights are off, then the other driver will have no chance of seeing you.
Another safety concern is the weather. In cold climates, sleeping in your car in the winter can be deadly. If you don’t have the heater on, then you risk hypothermia. Depending on your degree of sobriety, you might not realize the severity of the cold. Falling asleep in your vehicle could be detrimental to your health.
Finally, there’s the risk of a DUI. Although a DUI might not place you in direct physical harm, it affects the safety of your future. When you get a DUI conviction, there are many possible penalties. You might get fines that cost you everything that you own. Additionally, you will lose your license for a period of time. As a result, you could experience difficulty getting to work. You professional and personal life could suffer. In a worst-case-scenario, you could get jail time. If you do, then your conviction could follow you around forever. The penalties for a DUI put your successful future in danger.
What should you do if you’re too drunk to drive?
If you’re too drunk to drive, then there are other options for you. First, you should avoid driving at all costs. Before you even start your car, ask yourself how much you had to drink. If you had more than one or two drinks, then you might want to reconsider driving.
Some people invest in an at-home breathalyzer test. If you go out frequently and have a hard time determining your sobriety, then this can be a great option. Although the breathalyzers aren’t 100% accurate, they can be useful tools. Take a breathalyzer, and if you are over the legal BAC limit, then you should avoid driving.
In some situations, people don’t realize that they are too drunk to drive until it’s too late. You might feel fine. But the second that you start driving down a dark road, you realize that you are unfit to drive. If this is the case, then you should find somewhere safe to stop. Instead of pulling over on the side of the road, look for a rest area. You might find respite at a fast food chain or a 24 hour Walmart. Once you find somewhere safe to stop, you can call a friend or family member for assistance. If you have no one to turn to for help, then you can call for a taxi or Uber. When you sober up in the morning, you can pick up your vehicle.
Of course, the best advice is not to drink and drive. And if you do, seek the advice of a DUI lawyer.