Create an X-Plan for a Safe Ride Home


“It’s just one!”

“Come on, everyone is drinking. It’s okay.”

“Your parents will never know!”

Do these phrases sound familiar and make you uneasy? Friends may use these claims to pressure you to drink alcohol underage or take other substances. In these cases, you need a plan to get out of sticky situations, allowing you to feel good about making healthy decisions without making a big deal of it with your friends.

This is where an “X-Plan” can be helpful. The X-Plan is a simple, powerful tool that can provide a lifeline when you need a safe ride home or a way out of an uncomfortable situation.


What Is an X-Plan?

The X-Plan is essentially a pre-arranged secret code between you and your parents or another trusted adult. It’s a one-letter lifeline, and here’s how it works: simply text the letter “X” to your parents. When they get the text, they know you need help exiting a situation discreetly. Together, you and your parents or guardians can agree that there will be no questions asked and no judgments made. Your parents can even call you and give an excuse for you to leave, ensuring you have a safe ride home.

They may say something like, “I need to come get you and have you come home right now. I can explain more when I pick you up.” Or, just simply, “You need to come home now. I’m coming to get you.”

This means you’re off the hook for an excuse with your friends and can blame your parents — heat they are more than willing to take.


Why Should You Create an X-Plan With Your Parents?

Creating an X-Plan is a way to prepare for the unexpected. While you may not think you’ll end up in a situation that makes you uncomfortable or where you’ll be pressured to make bad decisions, it’s important to acknowledge that, sometimes, things happen. The X-Plan gives you a way to stay safe without judgment or punishment. It’s a silent agreement that your well-being is the utmost priority.


The Importance of a Safe Ride Home

Impaired driving is a significant risk, especially for teenagers. The decision to not get behind the wheel after drinking, or to avoid riding with someone who has been drinking, can be lifesaving. In North Carolina, there is a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and impaired driving.

In 2022 alone, according to NCDOT’s North Carolina 2022 Traffic Crash Facts report, there were more than 1,000 alcohol-related teen crashes, and 16 teens were killed due to alcohol-impaired driving. The X-Plan offers a quick and easy way to get home safely, preventing the potentially deadly consequences of impaired driving.

Underage drinking can also cause negative side effects for teenagers. Your brain is still developing until around age 25. Alcohol can negatively impact development, leading to problems with judgment, memory, impulse control, and more. Any way you can prevent underage drinking now is a vital step for your health and future.


Setting Up the X-Plan Before Going Out

It’s important to set up your X-Plan before you go out and before you anticipate any peer pressure to consume alcohol underage. This way, everyone understands the process and is on the same page. It’s a preemptive step to take, and this shows proactive thinking and responsibility. It can even be a moment to bond with your parent or guardian by laying out your X-Plan. They will likely be proud of the responsible steps you are taking.


How To Start the Conversation With Your Parents

Not sure how to approach using the X-Plan? Starting this conversation might seem hard, but it’s an important part of building trust and understanding within your family.

Start the Conversation with your parents at a calm time and explain what you’ve heard about the X-Plan. Tell them you feel it’s a smart idea to implement for your family. You can assure them this is not about you planning to make bad decisions; it’s about your desire to feel safe and have open communication if you get into a situation where you don’t feel comfortable.

Taking your safety into your own hands is a big step to being a responsible young adult. The X-Plan can help you do that. It’s more than a strategy for a safe ride home; it’s a way to build trust, understanding, and communication between you and your parents So take the first step, and Start the Conversation today!