Drivers: Don’t Push Your Luck on St Patrick's Day

Feb. 13, 2013 - Every year, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on a grand scale with colorful parades and celebrations. It also keeps the restaurants and bars at maximum capacity.

Fun-seekers need to be responsible because the law across the country is clear. It’s a crime for a driver to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol. Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) can carry significant consequences that can affect all aspects of your life, from jail time to revoked driving privileges to higher insurance rates.

So remember, amidst the music and revelry in the pubs or on the parade routes, take proper precaution to prevent alcohol-related accidents. The absolute best way to avoid a DUI: never get behind the wheel of if you’ve been drinking. Find, or offer to be, a designated driver (DD).

Planning who will be the sober driver doesn’t have to be a buzz kill. In fact, there are many reasons why having — or being — a DD can make the festive celebrations all the more enjoyable.

  • DDs drink for free. Friends usually chip in for the DD’s meal and/or non-alcoholic beverages if they aren’t free. (Some locations provide free soft drinks to designated drivers on this Irish holiday. Be sure to ask about it.)
  • No worries when it’s time to go home: a designated driver should keep tabs on everyone he or she is taking home. The DD will also already have their keys — so no one is tempted to drive under the influence of alcohol.
  • A good group of friends takes turns having DD duty so everyone can have a chance to celebrate.
  • The DD gets to enjoy the night’s events without the downer of a hangover or the embarrassment of enjoying one too many.

The tougher part might be deciding which car to use, especially if plans for who will be the designated driver change. If the designated driver is driving your car, whose insurance covers the ride?

Unless it’s excluded specifically in your ERIE auto policy, your insurance will cover a friend who has your permission to drive your car. Your car, your insurance. Think twice before handing over the keys to a rental car, though, because your personal insurance will likely not cover your buddy when he or she is driving your rental.

For more questions about how your insurance works in such situations, contact your local ERIE Agent. Have a safe spring.

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