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My Friend Insists on Drinking and Driving. What Do I Do?

by Joanne M
(Jacksonville FL)

I have a friend who is normally very thoughtful. He insists on drinking and driving with me in the passenger seat. This week it got worse as now he brought his drink with him to drink WHILE driving. What do I do? How I can tell him that I can not be a passenger anymore?

He just says that it is no big deal. By the way, it was before noon that he brought his drink with him. I can not get into the passenger seat anymore. I just can't. I need to explain myself but not sure how he will understand.

He is a functional alcoholic as he goes to work every day. After work he starts to drink as soon as he gets home and on weekends we starts drinking around 10 am.


Hi Joanne

You simply refuse to get in the car with him when he's been drinking. You don't have to explain yourself - you simply tell him you're not prepared to put your life at risk by getting into a car with someone who is/has been drinking.

And you might want to think about calling the police when you know he's on the road and driving under the influence (DUI) - because not is he only putting himself at increased risk - he's putting the lives of others at risk too. It's just plain thoughtless and irresponsible behavior. Maybe a night in jail with a DUI charge will get him to think twice before getting behind the wheel while drinking.

If he wants to get drunk at home, then fine because he's only destroying himself, but getting behind the wheel of a car when he's been drinking is under no circumstances okay because it's not just his life he's playing with. When it comes to driving under the influence I advocate a ZERO tolerance policy.

Don't feel the need to explain yourself and make sure you never get in a car with him again when he's been drinking. But if you're ever with him when he's totally sober in future - be 'straight' with him and tell him you think he has a problem with alcohol, what he's doing is totally irresponsible (the DUI), and he should consider getting some help.

He probably won't respond well to that, but at least you'll have a clear conscience knowing you were prepared to be honest with him. We can't force someone with alcoholism to change because they have to want to do it for themselves ultimately - but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be honest with them about what we see is going on.

Take Care.

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