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by Abigail Van Buren

Lucky Teens Driving Drunk Live to Tell Sobering Tale

DEAR ABBY: I am a 14-year-old girl, and I'd like to offer my fellow teen-agers some advice: DO NOT RIDE WITH DRUNK DRIVERS! Getting into a car with a drunk driver and driving drunk are two of the stupidest mistakes anyone can make.

I know a lot of teen-agers will read this and blow off what I'm saying. I had that same attitude last week -- but I learned the hard way.

Two nights ago, I was out with my boyfriend, who had been drinking. We were speeding along a country road and came to a sharp turn with a 10-foot drop. We weren't able to slow down fast enough. The car went airborne.

I closed my eyes. When I opened them, the hood was crushed and the windshield was smashed -- but we walked away without a scratch. It was a miracle. Most people are not so fortunate.

If we had been injured or killed, nobody would have found us for days at the bottom of the ditch. So, I urge all of you not to be stupid. Don't drink and drive -- or ride with a drunk driver. -- STILL SHAKING IN TUSCALOOSA, ALA.

DEAR STILL SHAKING: I hope other teens will take to heart the hard lesson you learned. Your guardian angels must have been sitting in the car with you.

Regrettably, Americans of every age make the deadly decision to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car, and the effects can be tragic injuries and death.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, last year -- for the first time in five years -- the number of impaired-driving deaths rose. This information must not be ignored because impaired-driving crashes are not "accidents" -- they are predictable and preventable events.

This holiday season, I urge everyone to think carefully about the choices they make regarding alcohol consumption. Consider the lives and health of families and neighbors. If you plan to drink, don't drive. Agree in advance upon a designated driver, call a taxi or use mass transit. Make this a safe and happy holiday season by making wise choices. And remember, friends don't let friends drive drunk.

DEAR ABBY: I have been having problems with my second wife. My son recently moved here from the East Coast to start a new life. She refused to let him stay with us for even one night. I had to set him up in a room-and-board situation nearby and help him find a job.

Every time he wanted to visit and spend the night, my wife refused. My son may be a little immature for his 21 years, but he's a good kid.

Now my father wants to come for a visit. Again my wife refuses. It's because of a remark my stepmother made three years ago while they were here. My wife still holds a grudge after all this time. I wish she'd get over it.

My family is not perfect, Abby, but they are important to me. I wish I could get my wife to bend a little. Do you have any advice? -- SAD AND CONFUSED IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

DEAR SAD AND CONFUSED: Successful marriages require compromise. As long as your wife rules the roost, nothing will change.

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600