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Don’t Drink and Drive — I Learned the Hard Way

I had planned to go out with a work friend at the weekend. He lived alone and offered me to stay at his place. The club we were going to was much closer to where he lived, and it would have meant me getting an expensive taxi by myself otherwise.

I landed at his house for pre-drinks, and we sank a few beers while listening to dance tunes before we left. When we got to the club, we met up with a few of his friends. They were all in their mid 30’s, and I guess I could have been considered the young buck of the group — I was 23 at the time. I was still at the age where you’re invincible, and nothing can bad could ever happen to you — or so I thought at least.

Off to the club

From we entered the nightclub, it was double Vodka Red Bulls from there. Beers sit heavy on you, especially when you’re in a nightclub and want to hit the dancefloor. While double Vodka Red Bulls do make for a better party drink, they don’t get you steaming drunk much quicker.

Photo by Alexander Popov on Unsplash

When the club was over at around 2-am, we got a taxi and went back to my friend’s place. I was a smoker at the time, and after a few more drinks we sat down for one last cigarette and were ready to head off to bed.

While chatting, I chimed in and told my friend that I was going to just drive home instead since I wanted to sleep in my own bed. Of course what was going through my head was not a logical, nor a safe reason to be driving home. As silly as it sounds, I used to struggle staying in other beds than my own, especially if they weren’t comfortable. I found it hard to get to sleep.

My friend’s advice not to drive

My mate told me rather bluntly to “wise up”. He had already lost his license before for drink driving and warned me that it was not a good move. He was still paying the price for it by having to rely on buses and others for lifts. He finished his smoke and left for bed while I was still finishing off mine, telling me that he expected me to not be too far behind him.

Of course, I was young and I knew better. I wasn’t even really that drunk and I had already jumped into the car after only “a few” before. I was in complete control — or so I thought again.

Driving under the influence

I finished my cigarette, left the house, and got in the car. After about only five minutes, I remember jumping up (I must have drifted off) as my car crashed into a barrier that ran along the side of the slip road that I driving along, that would take me onto the motorway.

I didn’t know what to do and started to panic. I quickly decided to ring my dad to come and get me but took my phone out of my pocket only to realize that it was dead. My door would only open halfway, and there was a big dent that ran across the panel of the door from where I hit and dragged the car against the barrier.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I needed to get my dad to come and get me. It dawned on me how stupid I was, and that I was indeed in no state to be driving the car. What the hell had I done?

Although the time was around 5-am on a Sunday, I knew in a few hours the traffic would somewhat begin to pick up and my car would be in a place that could cause a lot of disruption. I decided to drive up the motorway a little towards home, and leave the car at the nearest service station just a few miles up the road. I would ask the cashier to use their phone to get my lift.

Heated conversation with the cashier

I rolled up to the service station and ran in and said, rather hastily, “Please, please. I need to use your phone. I need to ring my dad for a lift. My phone’s died.”

There were two cashiers, and they both looked in complete shock as they looked outside and saw the shape my car was in. One of them said, “You’re drunk.” I replied, “I know. But I just drove here because my phone’s dead, and I want my dad to come and get me. I’m not driving anymore. I just need to get a lift home.”

She took my car keys and I phoned my dad. I woke him up and he was pissed off to say the very least. My dad had a few drinks himself that night, and so he called my brother to come and get me.

I told the cashier that my lift was on its way, thanked her, and asked for my keys. She refused, saying to wait until my brother arrived, just in case I took it upon myself to drive again. This didn’t make sense to me, even in my state. I had driven there specifically to park the car up, arrange a lift, and pick it up the next day.

We debated back and forth, and I was starting to get annoyed. Eventually, I shouted, “JUST GIVE ME MY FUCKING KEYS.”

Photo by Photo Boards on Unsplash

She lifted the phone, “That’s it, I’m calling the police.”

I waited outside, not really caring about the fact that the police were on their way, and expected my brother to get to me first. It’s clear that you’ve gone a fair bit overboard on the alcohol when you’re not even fussed about the fact that you could well be on your way to getting scooped by the police.

The police arrived and breathalyzed me on the spot. The reading showed me to be over the limit, as I saw my brother pull up next to us. They advised him that they had to take me to the station to do another breathalyzer for confirmation, one that would show a more accurate reading.

When we get to the station, I blew a reading of more than 87.5. This was more than twice what is considered the safe limit, which was 35 — something that I’m not proud of at all.

Photo by Michael Förtsch on Unsplash

I started crying in front of the police woman who took the reading, as I knew this would mean that I would lose my licence, which I need it for work at the time — I was a delivery driver. My parents weren’t best pleased, but refrained from giving me the hairdryer treatment. It might sound like a cliché, but they were just happy that I was OK and nobody was hurt.

Going to court

I was really embarrassed about the fact that I had to go to court, stand in front of a room full of people, and have my punishment read out to me. This was confirmed by uncle also who had came to support me, pointing out about how red I was, standing there in an undesirable spotlight.

Despite my solicitor’s prediction that I would receive only the minimum penalty of a 12-month driving ban, since I was so much over the limit I had to be placed into the next bracket. This meant I incurred the following penalties:

  • License revoked
  • 16-month driving ban
  • £215 fine

I had to re-sit both my driving test and pass a medical beforehand that I had to pay for, all while racking up a huge yearly insurance bill. It cost me more than £3,000 to get back on the road, and it served me right! I deserved every minute of the ban, and every penny that it cost me.

Photo by Saúl Bucio on Unsplash

In my opinion, I’m a changed person

All of this happened seven years ago. I’m pleased to say that I’ve since changed and wised up my act a lot. There’s no way I’d ever drink-drive again, and I’m a bit more cautious now even when I do go out to drink — I never drive the following morning. I stopped dabbling with class A’s in nightclubs (although I didn’t partake the night of the incident). I got the car repaired and still drive that baby today, sitting at 125,000 miles. It has served me well.

If you’ve ever made the same mistake as me, or have ever thought about jumping in your car after a few drinks because you think it’s more convenient, please don’t. Whether you end up crashing and losing your license like me, or not, I’m sure you’d regret it. When the drink wears off and you’ve realized what a fool you’ve been, it’s certainly not a pleasant feeling to have.

Here’s another life story from me that you can read:

My Poker Addiction

Recommended1 Simily SnapPublished in All Stories, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Personal Narrative, True Story