British Columbia

Operation Red Nose: 3 tips for drunk passengers

Volunteers from Operation Red Nose in the Tri-Cities, Burnaby and New Westminster region share their tips for passengers who use the service.

Operation Red Nose volunteers share advice for how passengers should behave with a designated driver

Rudy, Operation Red Nose's reindeer mascot, stands by as a police officer speaks to a volunteer Operation Red Nose driver. (Operation Red Nose TriCities, Burnaby and New West/Facebook)

Operation Red Nose is a resource people can use to get home safely after enjoying holiday libations. The program operates in the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver from Agassiz to West Vancouver — with the exception of the City of Vancouver. 

The free service runs from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. PT every Friday and Saturday evening until the end of the year. The service uses teams of three volunteers — two accompany the owner of a vehicle who doesn't feel fit to drive, the other follows in their own vehicle.

The service is free, but Operation Red Nose accepts donations, which are directed to KidSport — a non-profit that provides financial assistance for sport registration fees and equipment to children aged 18 and under.

Here are the organization's top tips for how to behave with a designated driver:

1. Don't ever try to grab the steering wheel

"Be cognizant of the fact we’re still trying to drive," said Greg Garrison, a volunteer with the program in the Tri-Cities, Burnaby and New Westminster region.

"It always seems like so much fun when you're involved in the drinking. But when you're trying to drive you do need folks to sit down, have their seat belt on, and try and respect the fact that we're trying to get them home safely."

2. Don't be shy

Wilson and other local Operation Red Nose volunteers encourage passengers to engage with them.

"We find people are always generally in a really good mood," Wilson said.

"Some nights I've sang half an hour of songs with them."

"Keep in mind the Christmas spirit," said Dave McCloskey, another volunteer.

"There’s great laughter and stories. You get apologies all the time for the condition [passengers are] in, but we say you don’t need to apologize, this is your vehicle, and we’re getting you home safe."

3. Don't throw up

Enough said!

The folks from Operation Red Nose also recommend dressing warmly while waiting to be picked up, and being prepared to leave when the volunteer drivers arrive.

To reach an Operation Red Nose operator anywhere in the Lower Mainland, call 1-877-604-6673​.