Rule #1: Don't drink alcohol and drive at any time.
There is never a safe time to drink and then drive. In my law practice, I have seen many instances where people have said " I was not that drunk. " In actuality, you don't have to be "that drunk" to get a DUI. An officer may charge you with a DUI based upon the field sobriety test he or she administers to you and even if you refuse the breathalyzer, you can be charged with a DUI. If you drink, never drive, even if it is just down the street to your home. Stay until morning if you are at a friend or relative's house or insist upon a taxi if you were out drinking locally. A designated driver who has not consumed any alcohol that night can even be used. If you go out frequently, alternate the designated drivers in your group so that at all times, someone is able to drive you home. It's the most obvious and easiest rule to follow.
Rule #2: Avoid mixing alcohol with prescription medications
All prescription medications and all drugs in general have side effects. There are many drugs which have a violent and harmful reaction within your body when mixed with alcohol. If you drink while on your medication, you may lose consciousness, have a severe allergic-type reaction or even have a higher risk of death because of the reaction. It is not enough to just not take medication that makes you drowsy. Avoid all combinations of alcohol and drugs because you just don't know how it will affect your body.
Rule #3: Understand How Alcohol is Absorbed in your Body
In general, alcohol is absorbed in the body at different levels depending upon you age, height, body weight, gender, hydration levels, the amount of food you have consumed and hereditary predisposition to alcohol. For example, a woman who is 5'4" tall and weighs 120 lbs would seem to have a higher concentration of alcohol in her system than a man who is 6'2" tall and 230 lbs if they consumed the same amount of alcohol. In fact, due to age and heredity, the man may end up having a higher alcohol concentration in his body. The way a body absorbes alcohol takes into account the body's overall chemistry and is a complex chemical process with many variables. There is no safe way to consume alcohol and not become intoxicated or impaired. The only way to rid the body of alcohol is over time, with proper hydration (water) and abstaining from drinking.
Rule #4: Don't assume there are any safe ways or places to drive
There are no safe side streets or ways to drive slow and careful which can prevent you from being stopped for a DUI. For example, during the holidays, law enforcement officers are positioned at DUI checkpoints just to stop people, get their license and information and look at them to see if they are intoxicated. If you are stopped at a checkpoint and you have been drinking, if you look the least bit impaired, you can be arrested. Likewise, if you drive slow and take side streets home, there are hidden places that officers and troopers hide in with their cars and they can blue light you before you ever have a chance to see them. I have even had several clients who were stopped for 'driving too slow" and were pulled over. If you drink and drive, you must assume that there is no safe place to drive. The most common reason that officers use for stopping someone is "crossing the center line" which generally means they thought they were swerving. So if you drink, just don't drive.