For some teens, underage drinking has a lot of appeal partly because it is forbidden. Drinking alcohol at a party may make some teens feel that the party is more exclusive, secretive, and a little risky. Unfortunately such parties can easily end in disaster because a bunch of inexperienced drinkers are suddenly given access to a lot of alcohol, and most possess driver’s licenses and car keys. Many may not have been made aware of the dangers of over consuming alcohol and how little it actually takes to hinder your judgment and reaction time.

A Sequence of Bad Decisions

The teens who choose to drink often do so precisely because it is risky, and so they flaunt a general disregard for rules or laws. They may continue to drink to excess without much thought, to the point of passing out or becoming severely ill.

Most teens are wise enough to not get in a car drunk just to go for a joy ride, but many may feel that they have to drive home to meet their curfew or get home before their parents wake up in the morning. Some may be aware enough to realize that they are too drunk to drink, but they are unlikely to call a parent and risk getting in trouble. Instead, they will probably pass the car keys to a friend who says they are sober enough to drive, even though this friend is probably as drunk as the other.

Facing the Consequences of Drinking and Driving

A night of underage drinking at a friend’s house can rapidly unravel into a disastrous situation. Every year, thousands of teens are killed or critically injured in drunk driving accidents. In fact, in the U.S., alcohol is involved in 60 percent of all teen deaths resulting from car accidents.

Many teens who survive a drunk driving experience are left with the constant reminder that they are responsible for the death or severe injury of a friend or other driver or passenger. If by some lucky chance no one is injured, at the very least, teens who drink and drive will be charged with a DUI when they are pulled over or pulled out of the car after the accident. In many states, any alcohol detected in a teen’s bloodstream constitutes drunk driving. A DUI conviction results in a criminal record, fines, and license suspension, among other penalties. Having a criminal record hurts your chances of getting into college or getting a scholarship and can severely hinder your personal and professional life even years later.

Don’t Drink and Drive

As a teen, your best option is to just avoid drinking altogether. If you decide to drink, never mix drinking and driving. Call a taxi, a friend who wasn’t at the party, a family member, or stay the night. Dealing with a lecture from your parents or a friend and risking punishment at home is a better alternative to being convicted and having a criminal record with the state.