Under the Influence: Convincing an Intoxicated Individual to Hand Over the Car Keys

Frustrating, isn’t it?

You know the person shouldn’t drive, and yet they insist. But, you saw them drinking just minutes ago. They swear they’re fine, and they’re ready to put up a fight over it. It’s clear you’re not going to win this one, or are you? Here’s how to negotiate your friend or family member into a cab, uber, or get them to hand over their keys when they don’t want to.

The best way to prevent someone from driving drunk is to make a plan for a sober designated driver, and make sure everyone agrees to it ahead of time. If you are faced with a situation where someone who’s impaired is trying to drive, here are some tips on how to stop them:

Under the Influence: Convincing an Intoxicated Individual to Hand Over the Car Keys
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Stay Non-Confrontational
One of the biggest mistakes people make is they get confrontational. When a person is drunk, often they’re not their usual self. They may be a more magnified version of their worst character traits. For example, they may become mean-spirited, obnoxious, or reckless. They may not have self-control, and they may become highly irrational.

This is something you have to deal with. But, it’s not something you want to deal with forcefully. They will want to argue with you, they can’t reason or respond to logical argument. They’re highly emotional. But, the alternative to getting them to hand over their keys is they may find themselves injuring or killing someone else. Or, they may be involved in a criminal lawsuit.

Andrade Law Offices handles these types of cases all the time, and victims often demand compensation for damages.

So, what do you do when you can’t argue? You pretend to argue. Agree with what they say, but try to get their keys by using distraction or diversions. For example, an intoxicated person might insist that they’re going to drive, and that they’re fine. Agree with them, verbally.

Then, ask them if you can see their keys for a moment. Remember, they can’t really understand logic at this point, so it’s unlikely they’ll put up a fight. If they ask why, simply repeat your request. You need to check something out before they drive.

It can be something as simple as, “Hey, let me see your keys for a minute, I need to check something out first before you get in.”

Then, when you have their keys, you can either call a cab or get them in the vehicle so you can drive. Distraction also works. So, the way this would work is you distract them in some way long enough for you to get their keys. Either, you get a friend to talk to them while you reach in their pocket to take their keys, or you create a diversion or distraction so someone else can.

Suggest An Alternative

You can try telling them to get alternate transportation home, like a cab, a sober driver, or public transportation. This works only when the person has had a few drinks but aren’t yet cognitively impaired to the point where they don’t really understand you or aren’t open to reason and logic.

It’s a highly risky move, because they might start arguing with you and, before you know it, they’ll take off in their own vehicle. Remember that the person you’re talking to is still impaired, even if only a little. You could try to plead with them not to drive because you care about them. But, again, the person may be unable or unwilling to realize their own cognitive impairment.

Disable Their Vehicle

If you can, try to disable their vehicle by pulling out the fuses in the fuse box (under the steering wheel) that supply power to the ignition. This will keep them from starting the vehicle. And, since they’re already drunk, it’s highly unlikely they’ll have the ability to buy new fuses and have the coordination or patience to put them in.

Call The Police

If all else fails, call the police and have them help you. When a friend or loved one is totally unreasonable, the police can often find cause to arrest them or forcibly convince them to stop from making a stupid mistake.

Katherine Moss is a student who works part time in her local bar at weekends; the busiest time! Katherine spends her spare time writing articles which she hopes to take further one day by entering into journalism.

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