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Young adults are, for the most part, in constant search of happiness. Many are socialites, thriving to meet new people, become the “life of the party”, and “keep the party alive”. If you think about it, almost every song on the radio is about being the life of the party. In this respect, these songs may not be much of a good influence. We’ll get into why…
The holidays are here. And the holidays may be the most dangerous time to be on the road due to the increase in drinking and driving. And so, instead of pointing out the alarming count of drinking/driving occurrences and their horrible consequences, we’d like to point out some of the reasons why so many choose to drink and drive, despite the statistics, and despite the law. Social influences may be a large, unyielding social influence behind drinking and driving.
A structured interview study entitled “The Bases of Decisions Leading to Alcohol Impaired Driving”, performed by AJ McKnight, EA Langston, AS McKnight and JE Lange, unveiled some of the decision bases for which individuals choose to drink and drive. And many of them are sociological in nature. At the root of it all, most everyone feels the need to be accepted.
According to the study, the social influences to drink and drive can pile on one’s self from their own peers. Without a responsible, designated driver around, drinks likely aren’t being counted. Alcohol lowers our inhibition. And peers will encourage others to attend social gatherings where alcohol is plentiful to meet others, which satisfies our drive to be social beings.
And as one social gathering is ending, or an individual’s group of friends want to leave, the pressure to get on the road to the next place (whether it’s another party or home) increases. Many participants of the study admitted that they had felt pressured to drive by their peers, even though they were intoxicated, since they were expected to drive home regardless.
According to this study, social influences play the largest part in an individual’s decision to drink and drive. The participants admitted to feeling these social pressures. The study revealed that “Social influences also appear to have played a significant role in transportation, drinkers riding with others because there was room in the car, because the driver wanted company, or because people were traveling as a group.”
If you’re intoxicated, your peers may get inside your head. They might literally make you think it’s okay to drive drunk, without even thinking about it. They may even push it on you. And if one wants to be “life of the party” – like many do – they may want to keep the party going. Some experts believe that the urge to party is human nature.
Other than the influences others have on the act of drinking and driving, there are personal reasons individuals feel obligated to do so as well. The study found that a majority of individuals’ decision to drink at a social gathering is “to achieve relaxation, to feel the effects of alcohol, to achieve a particular mood or mood change, or to satisfy the taste for a particular beverage.” It’s well-known that many turn to alcohol to calm their nerves. And when someone’s at a large social gathering, they may feel anxious, especially if they’re meeting new people. They may want to be as intoxicated as them.
And many individuals simply don’t know their limit when it comes to drinking, which impairs their inhibition. As one’s alcohol intake increases, the perceived consequences of one’s actions decrease. Alcohol, at first, is a stimulant. But then it becomes a downer. Some individuals will binge drink and not realize their limitations until it’s too late.
When hard liquor is supplied at a party and everyone is drinking it together, it can be easily forgotten that each little shot of hard liquor takes an hour to fully take effect in the human body. Many individuals feel the need to leave (and thus, drive intoxicated) from “the desire to be somewhere else, feeling the effects of alcohol, fatigue, boredom, and the desire to go home”.