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Most college students (whether they’re legally able to drink or not) experiment with alcohol at some point. It’s important to address the realities of drinking and driving with your college-aged child as soon as possible so that they don’t fall prey to some of the more common myths that are bandied about.

Here’s what your college kid needs to know about drinking and driving:

  1. It doesn’t matter what you drink. Beer and wine are perceived as “soft” alcohol compared to whiskey, rum or vodka, but alcohol is alcohol. Beer can get you just as drunk as vodka.
  2. There are no tricks to sober up quickly. Once the alcohol is in your system, you just have to wait until your liver does its job if you want to sober up. All of the energy drinks, strong coffee and cold showers in the world won’t make it happen faster.
  3. “Alert” does not equal “sober.” All of those tricks listed above may make someone feel more alert and less drunk, but it won’t change the reading on a Breathalyzer test if they’re stopped.
  4. There’s nothing you can do to fool the police. There are all kinds of urban legends about how to fool a Breathalyzer test, ranging from pennies in your mouth to chewing on breath mints. Don’t believe them. You’re more likely to hurt yourself than help yourself by trying to be deceptive.
  5. Driving slowly and using the back roads is not a plan. In fact, that could attract the attention of the police. If you’ve been drinking, stay where you are until you sober up or get a ride home.

North Carolina has some of the harshest penalties (and most confusing laws) related to drunk driving in the nation. It’s far better to avoid a charge than fight one. If your college student makes a mistake, however, take swift action to protect their rights.