The weather isn't the only thing that can be frightful this time of year.
The idea of a drunk person operating a rolling 4,000pound piece of metal on local roads is even scarier.
Volunteers with Operation Red Nose (ORN) and the people who take advantage of the designated driver service can help to alleviate that fear.
ORN Ridge-Meadows offers safe ride homes for motorists who don't feel fit to drive.
Volunteers work in teams of three: a driver, escort, and navigator.
Phone operators take details from a client and these are dispatched to available teams, said ORN manager Linda Palm, who noted that all calls received up to 3 a.m. will be processed to completion.
Accompanied by navigators, drivers take clients and their vehicles home, with escort drivers following behind in their own cars.
The ORN service will be available on the following days: Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, and 31.
ORN Ridge-Meadows is a fundraiser for the host organization, PacificSport Fraser Valley, which coordinates the service not only in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, but also in Abbotsford and Mission.
PacificSport provides initiatives to increase sport participation and also delivers programs and services for promising athletes and developing coaches.
ORN Ridge-Meadows offers a fundraising opportunity to local sport teams and organizations, which provide volunteers for the road teams. Fifteen shifts over nine nights could equate into $500 in donations.
To learn about how to volunteer or for more information, call 604-746-0601.
Palm has been involved with the program for the past 12 years. She has volunteered in every capacity with ORN, and said feedback from party goers receiving a safe ride home is almost always overwhelmingly positive.
"They talk about it all the way home in the vehicle and repeat the fact that they think it's a wonderful service and such a good thing to do for the community," Palm said.
"Without question, people think it's a marvellous service. They want to get their car home, because they may need it the next morning."
Last year in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, ORN provided 430 safe rides, and a total of 1,209 since the start of the program in 2008.
The target of this campaign is to provide 500 safe rides home for revelers.
But to be among those who will receive the service this year, your vehicle must be suitable for driving in inclement weather.
ORN's team of volunteers will inspect the vehicle to make sure it's safe for the road.
"Our volunteers are trained to check each car, make sure the insurance is up-to-date, and check for damage [before driving it]," Palm said.
"We have the phone operators inquire about the condition of the client's vehicle's tires," she added.
"If we know [clients' vehicles] just have summer tires or old all-season tires, we suggest they get another ride home because we don't want to put our volunteers in harm's way."
ORN will operate, so long as the roads are reasonable and sanding trucks are out, and the escort driver's vehicle is suitable for winter driving.
As for the iconic Rudy the Reindeer, ORN's unmistakable mascot, whenever he's out and about at pubs and parties, he gets lots of attention, Palm said.
ORN Ridge-Meadows offers a transfer service throughout the Lower Mainland, except for Vancouver. Two new communities, Burnaby and New Westminster, have been added to the transfer service this year.
Anyone wanting to use the service locally, can call 604-515-NOSE (6673).
In 1984, ORN adopted the mission: To encourage responsible behaviour with regard to impaired driving in a non-judgmental manner by enabling communities to provide a confidential chauffeur service to their members, the financial benefits of which are redistributed to local organizations dedicated to youth.
@ Copyright 2013