The numbers don’t lie: according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), one in 10 high school seniors reported that they had driven a car under the influence of marijuana. In fact, 75% of those teens even say they drive better after smoking marijuana. Are you one of them?

If so, we have some bad news for you. The numbers also state that approximately 40 percent of all vehicle crashes are due to impaired driving from alcohol or illicit drugs. This means your chances of being involved in a collision are much higher when you’re under the influence than when you make the smart decision to drive sober.

Drugged Driving and Teens: The Facts

We understand that it can be difficult to resist drugs or alcohol when you’re out with your friends. But you have to remember that if you’re the driver for the evening, you’re not only putting yourself and the passengers in your car at risk, but also other drivers out on the road. Drugs like marijuana are known to alter your perception and affect your coordination, attention span and reaction time- all of which are necessary to stay alert and drive safely and responsibly.

A survey conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Driving revealed that more than three million impaired teens will be out driving at any given time. Recent studies have shown that lately, drivers killed in vehicle crashes have tested positive for at least one drug in their systems.

You might think, okay, well, before I leave the party I’ll just drink a lot of water or coffee, or I’ll get some good fresh air before I get behind the wheel to help me sober up quicker. Well, think again. There’s no way to actually get drugs out of your circulatory system other than simply giving it time.

How to Resist Peer Pressure

Your best bet is to simply not drink or do any type of drugs if you’re the driver. We know this can be easier said than done, especially with all the peer pressure you might receive from others out with you. It’s important to remember the facts, though: vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among people age 16 to 19. And drugged driving can simply lead to more tragedy.

Here are a few ways to resist peer pressure to drink or do drugs and then get behind the wheel of your car:

  • Offer to be the DD. If you offer to be the designated driver for your friends, they’ll be less likely to try to pressure you into drinking or doing drugs. They’ll also appreciate the fact that you’ll get them home, safe and sound.
  • Keep a bottle of water in your hands at the party. If you’ve already got something to drink, when someone offers you alcohol you can let them know you’re already taken care of.
  • Say you have an early morning ahead. Use plans the next day as an excuse to not drink. You can say you’ve got a big weekend of studying or a full day of work.
  • Blame your parents. Of course, you can always use your parents as an excuse. Tell friends they’ll be checking up on you when you get home, and you don’t want to risk losing your driving privileges by coming home impaired.

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, so there’s no time like the present to learn how to resist that peer pressure to drink and drive. Drive Team offers an impaired driving course as part of our teen driving classes, helping you learn how to be a responsible, safe driver throughout the year.

Leave us a comment below or tweet us @DriveTeamInc to let us know how you plan to avoid driving while impaired.