Almost everyone indulges in a few liquid treats of the alcoholic variety now and then. Whether you're an event planner partaking of the fruits of your labors or simply unwinding with friends at a bar at the end of a difficult work day, remember to take precautions so that you, your friends, and other people using the roads that night get home safely. You can take a cab, walk, or use mass transit, but many people prefer to appoint a designated driver. Here's some information about the importance and duties of designated drivers.

A designated driver is a person from your circle of friends who volunteers to drive everyone to and from the event where there will be alcohol so that no one has to pay for a taxi service. Designated drivers can attend the party or event and often do, but they agree not to drink any alcohol at all that night, because even the smallest amount of liquor could affect their reaction times or put them over the legal limit. The designated driver may use their own car or a car belonging to another member of the group who is drinking.

To keep things fair, most friend groups rotate the job of being designated driver among their members so the same person is not always left out of the drinking. However, if you have a friend who has decided not to drink or who cannot drink for religious or medical reasons, he or she may volunteer to be your permanent driver to parties and bars. In any case, you may want to show your gratitude to your designated driver by buying him or her some non-alcoholic drinks or snacks while you're out, or by paying for gas.

When you're choosing a designated driver, make sure whoever you pick is willing to volunteer. People who are coerced into being designated drivers just because they work for a car service may be tempted to imbibe a little during the party if they feel resentful or left out, which can leave your group in a bind or even put it in danger if the designated driver doesn't tell you he or she broke their promise. Never, ever pressure someone who is a designated driver to have a drink.

Designated drivers are extremely important. Without them, the temptation is very high, especially for people who are very drunk, to think that they're fine and try to drive themselves home. People who drive drunk are not only risking killing themselves, but also killing an innocent group of people on their way home. Therefore before your group goes to any party or event where there will be liquor, decide on who will be the designated driver before you leave.

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