Like most of your friends and family members in the Green Bay area, you know drinking and driving is a bad idea. After all, Wisconsin law sets stiff penalties for driving while impaired. Of course, life sometimes gets in the way. Unless you wholeheartedly commit to never driving after consuming alcohol, you may find yourself both behind the wheel and over the legal limit. 

Clearly, motorists who drive drunk do so because they drive after drinking. Research, however, reveals a significantly more complicated story. A budget car insurance provider conducted a study to see why DWIs occur. The study’s findings may surprise you. 

Motorists have many reasons for driving under the influence 

Researchers surveyed more than 1,000 Americans about their drinking and driving habits. Study participants indicated they drive when they should not for five basic reasons: 

  •         74 percent said they felt they could drive safely;
  •         51 percent said they had no other way to get to their next destination;
  •         46 percent said they thought law enforcement officers would not catch them;
  •         37 percent said they did not want to leave their vehicle; and
  •         37 percent said they had driven drunk in the past and faced no consequences. 

Millennials often overestimate their driving abilities 

Alarmingly, 12 percent of millennials in the study believed they could drive after drinking, despite having a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit. For older study participants, however, perception more closely aligned with reality. In fact, only 3 percent of baby boomers surveyed felt okay to drive when their BAC was more than 0.08 percent. 

Drunk drivers tend to regret their actions 

The study also examined motorists’ feelings about past drunk driving incidents. For men, 50 percent of those who have operated a motor vehicle while intoxicated regretted their actions. Only 4 percent of women surveyed said they did not regret driving under the influence. 

To avoid significant legal and other consequences, you must never drive under the influence of alcohol. If you regularly do, it is likely only a matter of time before you seriously injure yourself or someone else. By understanding the reasons motorists drive when they should call a cab, you can better plan for your next night out on the town.