This holiday season it is very important to make sure that your teenager is safe especially with all of the holiday parties and the free flowing of alcohol. While holidays are certainly a time to celebrate, it does not give you an excuse to drive under the influence or to get in the car with someone who is highly intoxicated. There are a few precautionary steps you can take to ensure that your teenager remains safe this holiday season. New York State in particular created numerous initiatives in 2013 to help stop DUI/DWUIs.

Here are a few ways you can ensure that your teenager stays safe this holiday season:

1) Take advantage of free state-wide initiatives. As previously mentioned New York State as well as numerous other states across the US has initiated free taxi ride services on holidays that have been associated with heavy drinking patterns. Take advantage of these services, especially if you think your college age student would possibly be drinking. While you don’t want to encourage them to drink, you also want to educate them if they choose to do so anyway.

2) Arrange for a sober designated driver (DD). Make sure you talk to your teen about getting in a car with someone who is intoxicated. Always offer to pick up your teen no matter what circumstance. It’s also a good idea to know where they are going or who they are staying with. It’s important for your teen to know they can call you without fear. Otherwise they may decide getting in trouble for drinking behind your back is too risky and get in the car with someone who is intoxicated.

3) Speak your concerns. For an older teen or 20 year old, it may be harder to control their actions. Chances are they have their own car or have been away at college for one or even three years before turning 21. This is where it gets hard to speak with your older teen. It’s better to start conversations about alcohol at a younger age rather than to keep alcohol or drug use taboo in your household. These will open the doors of communication for your teen to open up to you. It’s best to be preventative when it comes to substance use education. However, have in mind that scare tactics are less effective. You want your teen to always be armed with the best education no matter what situation arises. Chances are if something does go wrong no adult will be present, just their peers and in some cases these could be life and death situations.

In any cases it’s important for teens to know the consequences of drinking, whether that is jail time, academic probation from college, an underage drinking record or a loss of license, knowing the consequences of their actions ahead of time may help a teen to decide not to engage in underage drinking or driving while under the influence. This holiday try to make family time an important priority so your teen is not bored and looking for entertainment that involves alcohol.

Bio: Melissa currently writes for St. Jude Retreats, a non 12 step alternative to traditional alcohol and drug rehab. As well as writing for St. Jude’s, Melissa enjoys blogging about health and relationships.