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Drink Driving - Don't do it!

Knocking back a couple of glasses of wine with your meal while dining at Cairns restaurants is one of the pleasures that makes dining out so special. Wine, or in some cases beer, lubricates your inhibitions and relaxes you. Conversation is easier, you can feel more confident, and you can generally have a fabulous time. The combination of terrific food and a great drop of wine with family and good friends is something that’s hard to beat.

But there is a dilemma that is the bane of all diners. How do you get home after the meal when you are under the influence of alcohol? You either need to fork out money for a taxi ride or someone has to forgo alcoholic pleasures and be designated chauffer for the night.

Drink driving is one of the leading causes of death after a night on the town. Don’t bother worrying about how much fat was in your meal, or how your thighs are going to look after eating half a Pavlova – concern yourself with the safe journey home. Here is a list of commonsense rules to follow. Unfortunately, one of the side affects of alcohol is that we lose some of our commonsense, but here’s the list anyway.

If you are drinking during your meal at a fine Cairns restaurant:

  • Do not drive. Even if you’ve only had a couple of glasses of wine and you think you’re OK, think again. The contents of a typical glass of wine or can of beer contain virtually identical amounts of alcohol. A drink is a drink is a drink. Don’t take the risk.
  • If you absolutely must drive because there is no other option and the world will come to an end unless you get behind the wheel, know your limit. Have only one drink per hour, and eat plenty of food. Food high in protein such as meat, cheese and peanuts, will help slow the absorption of alcohol into your body.
  • Obviously, don’t participate in chugging contests or drinking games that will get your smashed. Drink slowly and savour your wine.
  • Do not accept a drink from anyone else unless you really want it. If you think you can enjoy dinner with a non-alcoholic drink, then definitely take that option.
  • Consider having a non-alcoholic drink between alcoholic ones to keep your blood alcohol content level down.
  • Use alcohol carefully when taking prescribed pharmaceuticals. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about any precautions you need to take.
  • When driving home, try to drive on main roads such as highways and avoid back streets.
  • Never drive when fatigued. The dangers of driving when you are tired can be just as intense as when intoxicated. Your reactions will be slow and your judgement impaired.
  • Expect to be breathalysed.

If someone else is giving you a ride home:

  • Do not ride with anyone who has had too much to drink, even if they say they are “fine mate, don’t worry about it, I have a high alcohol tolerance blah blah blah….”
  • Always wear a seat belt.
  • If you are fearful about the way the driver is handling the car, request to be let out immediately and call a taxi.

If you are taking a taxi home:

  • Drink up and have a great time! But remember to leave enough cash in your wallet to pay the cabbie.

Queensland Police is extremely diligent at catching drink drivers. On any night of the week breathalyser units can be stationed on main roads and back streets around Cairns, making them virtually impossible to avoid. The penalties for drink driving are severe, with substantial fines, loss of license, and jail time for repeat offenders. Being stripped of your vehicle license can be a major hindrance to your life – getting to and from work or school, doing the shopping, and even doing your job. Changing your mode of transport from your own car to a crowded bus is an unpleasant experience.

But the penalties dished out here in Cairns, Queensland, are nothing compared to some other places around the world. In Bulgaria, if a person is caught drink driving for a second time they are executed. In El Salvador, South America, your first offence is your last courtesy of a firing squad. Malaysian authorities jail the driver and his wife if he is married. And in Japan, expect a hefty fine or 3 months to 2 years imprisonment with hard labour.

The message is clear and in your best interests. If you have consumed alcohol, do not drive a car, bus, motorcycle, pushbike, horse or anything else that moves. Cairns Dining supports responsible drinking.

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