How to Make Being a Designated Driver Not Suck This Xmas Party Season

It’s Xmas party season, and surely, no one wants to be the designated driver. Don't you find it so sad to imagine how everyone is having fun while you are sipping a soft drink? But it's not so bad being the designated driver! Here's how you and your friends can make it fun!

5 Games to Pick the Designated Driver

Drinking and driving is a bad combination. We all know this. It's the reason why we've got designated drivers, those poor souls who sacrifice a night of boozing and dancing to Drake (while missing the beat entirely) to take home the troops at 3 am while Tina throws up in the back seat before singing her heart out of the passenger's window. 

The designated driver is a hero. But let's face it; no one wants that job bestowed upon them. So how do you pick someone as the driver? Sure, we all know Jeff is a bore who doesn't bring anything to the party, but you can't keep 'randomly' selecting him. He's bound to catch on sooner or later. 

No, what you need is a democratic process to select the designated driver fairly and transparently. The solution? Games. That's right, awesome games. So here are five games to help you choose the designated driver the next time you and the crew hit the town. 

Chwazi Finger Chooser

Everything happens on a smartphone these days, including choosing a designated driver. Chwazi is a popular app among the board gaming community, and it's often used to select who goes first at something.

The premise holds up for designating a driver, simply replacing the person who is chosen to go first with the responsibility of driving everyone to the club and back again. Once you've downloaded the app, put your phone or tablet on a flat surface and choose the number of players. 

Everyone has to put their finger on the screen, with the app putting a coloured circle around each finger. One by one, the circles disappear from all the fingers apart from one. That person is your designated driver. 

Credit Card Roulette

Ok, so you don't need a credit card, and this game can work with any object. Credit cards seem more mature, though, so we're sticking with them. Anyway, onto the game. Everyone gets out their credit card, puts them in a hat, and someone gives it a good shake. 

Then, one of you randomly picks out a credit card and whoever is the unlucky lucky person chosen from the hat becomes the designated driver for the night. There's nothing fancy about this game. But if you're pressed for time and want a quick decision, it's a straightforward solution with no frills. 

Lowest Unique Number Game

Another handy game if you're short on time and need a quick decision, Lowest Unique Number sees everyone throwing out a number of fingers (1-5, obvs) on one of their hands. Whoever throws out the lowest number is your go-to driver for the evening. 

However, there's a catch: if more than one person throws out the same number, then the unique number thrower wins. That way, you can't always go for number five, and it adds an element of uncertainty to the game. 

There can be no arguments, as each player is in control of their own destiny. And if you lose, you lose – no ifs or buts, and it's time to rev the engine and get driving. On the plus side, you might get a free soda at the bar if you get them feeling sorry enough about the fact you've been designated. 

Rock, Paper Scissors

When in doubt, revert to an old classic. Rock, Paper Scissors (RPS) between a group of you can be played in knockout elimination style, with the losers going on to play each other until there's one ultimate loser: the designated driver. 

It's not fancy, it's not even that clever, but Rock, Paper, Scissors has solved disputes for centuries. And it will continue to do so for many years to come. Because if you can't decipher who's the designated driver with a game of RPS, the only other option is an old-fashioned game of feisty cuffs. And no one wants that. 

Who Goes First

Who Goes First is the game for you if you can't choose a designated driver. It's a free online game and is a quick decision-maker to select the person behind the wheel for the evening. Just head over to the website and select the number of players. 

It's highly customisable, so you can edit the names to include the people who are in the mix. Once you've entered all the details, simply click on the wheel, which spins until it randomly lands on someone. Voila! You've got your designated driver. 

You're Designated! 

Whether it's fancy tech games on your mobile or old-fashioned ones played since the dawn of time, there are loads of games that can help determine the designated driver. Just remember that whoever ends up with the role should be automatically given a pass the next time you all head out for the night. 

Many are Actually Going Nolo in the UK

While you may think you're the only one going sober, the UK’s largest recent study of drinking behaviours showed in 2019, 16-to-25-year-olds were the most likely to be teetotal, with 26% not drinking, compared to the least likely generation (55-to-74-year-olds), 15% of whom didn’t drink.
One in three pub visits is actually alcohol-free! A recent survey from YouGov asked if Brits who drink alcohol would have an alcoholic drink if they were meeting with someone socially at a pub or restaurant in the evening. The results showed that 16% of alcohol-drinking Britons would not have an alcoholic drink if they were meeting someone socially at all, while three in ten British drinkers (31%) would have alcohol only if the other person did.

Ditch Drunk Driving

During December in the UK, alcohol consumption among adults increases by a staggering 40% as the highly anticipated festive season gives Brits a reason to fill calendars and diaries with Christmas parties and after-work drinks with our nearest and dearest.
While having a few festive tipples with friends and family is part and parcel of celebrating Christmas, December is now the second-most dangerous month for drunk driving in the UK. And it’s not just Christmas that is the catalyst for the increase in drunk driving. 
Research shows that New Year's Day has had the highest number of drunk driving offences in the last six years, with too many weary Brits jumping behind the wheel, keen to get home and back to their beds, while still over the legal limit from the night before.

Yes, Public Transport Sucks Right Now

With a fresh wave of rail strikes announced, there’s set to be travel chaos over the Christmas period. The majority of these are during the busiest time of year for Christmas festivities beginning December 12th and throughout the week, including “Mad Friday”.

December 16th is often referred to as “Mad Friday” by the media because it’s the most popular night of the year for adults to go out to celebrate Christmas with friends and colleagues, as the holiday spirit encourages us to start celebrating earlier and earlier than usual. 
While many will ordinarily rely on public transport to get home, it may be the better option this year to take over the role as designated driver, meaning you can still have fun but can guarantee you can get home after the night out, in fact, you could even be in demand to help out your colleagues. 

Steps to Prepare You as the Designated Driver

With this in mind, to help designated drivers this Xmas party season, Carmoola has created a 4- step guide to becoming a Designated Driver Legend:

1. Be ready for every type of passenger

Being a designated driver doesn’t have to feel like you are a taxi driver for your mates. Let’s face it. Everyone is going to have had a few drinks except you. But not to worry. Carmoola has conducted research with experienced taxi drivers on what types of passengers to watch out for and how to keep them in check:

The Nice One

Research shows that politeness is key when it comes to being the perfect passenger, with three-quarters of rideshare drivers saying they prefer a chatty passenger in their car, compared to only a third who favour a silent rider. Good manners are a great sign, but keep a beady eye out for the silent types. Are they feeling well? Or are you going to be taking your car to the car wash first thing tomorrow?!

The Planner

You know this passenger will be a fun one from the minute they get in the car and tell you all about the road trip playlist they have prepared, the homemade snacks they have brought, and the travel games they have packed for the trip. Just make sure those homemade goodies don’t make a mess, as 85% of drivers say there’s nothing worse than having to clean up after a particularly grubby passenger.

The One Who Knows a Shortcut

Rideshare drivers say that backseat drivers are some of the least desirable passengers to have, especially as it’s literally the driver’s job to drive. Almost two-thirds of drivers said that passengers with backseat road rage were the worst kind of passengers, so make sure you steer the chat away from the route and onto safer topics!

The Drunk One

While three-quarters of rideshare drivers say that drunk passengers are less than ideal, being a drunk passenger and not a drunk driver is 100% a better choice. As drunk drivers tend to ensure their journeys are very quick, with tipsy motorists usually driving no more than five miles while over the limit, at least the journey as a drunk passenger will be a short one! Just make sure any drunk passengers know where they live and be aware of any signs they might throw up!

The Wannabe Pop Star

One of the most annoying passenger habits is their desire to control the playlist. Messing with the radio or singing along too loudly to whatever music is playing is a no-no, as 41% of drivers say that wannabe pop stars are some of the worst passengers to have on board, and more than a fifth say asking to change the music was a pet peeve of theirs. Put strict playlist rules in place for passengers or threaten them with an awkward silent journey alternative.

2. Learn drunk conversation

Making conversation is difficult at the best of times. But when you are sober, and they are drunk, even more so. But as a sober driver, drunk conversations can be hilarious (especially re-telling them the day after), a little too honest sometimes, and often very revealing. So we’ve created an art of drunk conversation so that you can become quite the conversationalist amongst your intoxicated partygoers:

Five steps to converse with drunk people:

  1. Keep it simple and repeat sentences 2 or 3 times in a row
  2. Slur the occasional word
  3. Randomly raise your voice every so often
  4. Have fun. Talking to drunk people is hard
  5. Enjoy the secrets they might reveal!
3. Don’t be left short-changed

Sure it’s never comfortable to ask for money or for how much, but with the state of the cost of living, you should go for it - it’s only fair, and your passengers will understand. The cost of keeping a car is expensive, and with fuel prices continually rising, it won’t go unnoticed if passengers offer to pay for their share of the journey. A few pounds won’t go a miss, and remember, it’s still probably cheaper than getting a taxi or an Uber!

To make it easier for you, here’s a little pricing formula to work towards working out how much each passenger should pay:
Number of miles X £5 / number of passengers

4. Have the perfect playlist for your drunk passengers

Not sure what playlist to keep people entertained (or quiet)? Whilst this is mainly down to personal preference, there is another factor to take into account when choosing your favourite Christmas songs - safety. According to a recent research study, those who listen to music at a faster pace while driving are more likely to drive erratically.

Dr Simon Moore, a psychologist from London’s Metropolitan University, found that “A fast tempo can cause people to subconsciously speed up to match the beat of the song. The optimum tempo of a song for safe driving should mimic the human heartbeat at around 60 to 80 beats per minute, and 55 to 65 decibels is the optimum music volume for driving.”

  1. Aled Jones - Walking in the Air (67 BPM)
  2. Bing Crosby/David Bowie - Little Drummer Boy (72 BPM)
  3. The Drifters - The Christmas Song (75 BPM)
  4. Sam Smith - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (75 BPM)
  5. The Pogues - Fairytale of New York (78 BPM)
  6. Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song (79 BPM)
  7. Percy Sledge - Christmas Wish (79 BPM)
  8. CeeLo Green - What Christmas Means to Me (81 BPM)
  9. The Darkness - Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) (83 BPM)
  10. Queen - Thank God It’s Christmas (86 BPM)

A couple of bangers that you may be surprised to learn don't make the cut are:

  1. Wizzard - I Wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday (140 BPM)
  2. Mariah Carey - All I Want for Christmas (150BPM)
  3. Gene Autry - Frosty the Snowman (172 BPM)

So best to save those ones until you get there. But hey, if you love a bit of Wizzard and your eyes are glued to the road, we won't tell!

So there you have it, your path to becoming a Designated Driver Legend. The truth is, drunk driving is not a good idea, and you know that for sure. If you are asking yourself, “do you think I will be alright?” It is probably a sign that you aren’t, and it’s just not worth the risk for the sake of others, let alone yourself. Whilst the festive time can be the busiest time in your social calendar, there’s no need to use it as an excuse to drink alcohol or overdo it and put yourself or others in danger. Celebrate sober, and be proud to be the designated driver this Christmas. 

At Carmoola, we want you to get the most fun out of owning your car.  When you need to upgrade your car, Carmoola can sort out a quote for your next set of wheels in under 60 seconds.