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Now most of them, most of the time, managed to do this without any harmful effects. Unfortunately, many didn’t manage to do this, or, if they had managed it previously, there came a time when they killed themselves via an accident in their car.
Even worse, they killed some innocent car drivers, passengers and even pedestrians simply by being drunk behind the wheel.
Before cars were around, people either walked or, if it was a fair distance to the pub, perhaps rode their horse there. That was fine. They walked home, or more accurately, staggered home, or, assuming they were capable of mounting their horse, they did and the horse took them home.
Innocent people didn’t get killed by staggering drunks nor drunkenly ridden horses.
Then along came Henry Ford and, all of a sudden, drunks were running over people and crashing into things. Something had to be done, and it was.
A law was introduced that you couldn’t drive if you had more than the permitted amount of alcohol in your bloodstream.
Most people simply ignored this law and kept their fingers crossed that the police wouldn’t stop and breathalyze them. A lot of people got away with this tactic and, indeed, still do.
Of course, if you are involved in an accident under the influence of alcohol – even if the accident wasn’t your fault – you are toast, and rightly so.
Someone I know was very strongly opinionated about drinking and driving. He would call people convicted of it all the names you could think of – well, he did until he was caught drinking and driving anyway.
I can only assume that people believe they can drive fine after a few drinks. Indeed, some can. One friend I know drives far more safely after a few drinks. When completely sober he seems hell bent on killing me in my passenger seat.
The ‘experts’ say that your reactions slow down after drinking alcohol, and I believe them. I suspect in my friends case, he knows that so, to compensate, he drives more slowly and, therefore, safely.
Now I’m certainly not advocating nor supporting people who drink and drive. There are hundreds of thousands of people out there who would, quite rightly, want to lynch me if I did after they have lost loved ones to some stupid drunk behind the wheel.
What I am trying to do, is understand why people still do it when the evidence that, one day, they will probably kill someone is incontrovertible.
Many years ago, I did it. I’m certainly not proud of it, in fact, I am ashamed to say I did it.
I got up the next day, looked out of the bedroom window and thought, ‘how come my car is parked three doors up in the wrong driveway?’
What is it about drinking alcohol and then getting into a car and driving it that appeals to so many people? Is it the cost of the taxi fare? If so, how the hell can you afford to drink? Is it some mental deficiency that makes you think you can drive fine when you can’t even stand up or walk in a vaguely straight line?
Those were the questions that I asked myself when my car was in a neighbors driveway. I’ve never done it again.
I was lucky or, to be accurate, somebody else was lucky. If I’d carried on, sooner or later, the odds are that I would be living with the consequences, and those consequences could very easily have included some innocent persons death.
Now I stagger home, or get a taxi. Perhaps I should buy a horse? Now there’s a thought. That would cause a stir among the neighbors if I came home drunk on a horse.
Don’t do it – if you do. Please don’t do it. Stop now. Be lucky, as I was and, more importantly, let someone else be lucky and not get killed by you drunk behind the wheel.
Or, at the very least, buy a horse and leave your car at home.