Aaron DiManna
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Indie Band Car Seat Headrest Reminds you that Drunk Driving is Never Okay

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Will Toledo, lead singer of Car Seat Headrest
Will Toledo on stage, telling the truth
Photo: Paul Hudson

Everybody knows that driving drunk a terrible idea and a major cause of car-related deaths in North America. As reported by the NHTSA, nearly 11,000 individuals were killed in 2018 due to alcohol-related crashes.

That having been said, it’s incredibly easy to rationalize driving yourself home while impaired in the heat of the moment. Maybe you’re worried about calling a family member or friend to pick you up for fear of judgment. Maybe you’re confident that you can make it home in one piece. It’s only a few miles, right?

Sometimes, though, facts and figures feel far-removed from the realities of everyday life.

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Enter Will Toledo, frontman of indie band Car Seat Headrest, which was named for his recording studio during the early years of his career — the backseat of his car.

As of the writing of this article, Car Seat Headrest’s most popular song on Spotify is the sixth song on their album Teens of Denial, entitled Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales. So far, it has been streamed more than 18 million times.

The song chronicles the internal struggle and downward spiral of a young person who is trying to drown their woes in alcohol. They’re still reeling from a failed relationship; they’re trying to find someone new, but feel bogged down by baggage; they’re just trying to find some sort of comfort.

The lyrics read:

We’re just trying, I’m only trying to get home.
Drunk drivers, drunk drivers
this is not a good thing
I don’t mean to rationalize
or try and explain it away, it’s not okay

Toledo’s wavering vocals convey a sense of regretful self-awareness, like someone who knows they’re about to make a mistake but can’t seem to convince themself to do anything else. Toledo even evokes the idea of the subconscious and its attempts to keep us away from physical danger, despite emotional or mental turmoil.

Here’s that voice in your head
giving you s— again
but you know he loves you
and he doesn’t mean to cause you pain

Please listen to him
it’s not too late
turn off the engine, get out of the car and start to walk
drunk drivers, drunk drivers

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It’s important to remember that driving responsibly means considerably more than avoiding traffic tickets or DUIs. When you getD behind the wheel, you’re taking the safety of every other driver on the road into your hands; it’s never just about you. If you’re wrestling with mental health issues, consult a professional. If you’ve had a few drinks, call a Lyft.

Keep yourself safe. Keep families safe. Never drive drunk.