As the holidays roll around, you may find yourself at several social events during the most wonderful time of the year. While it can be fun to partake in the merriment of holiday party drinking, drunk driving never has a happy ending.
According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., distilled spirit producers make 25% of their profits between Thanksgiving and New Years. Holiday weekends and parties are an easy time to overindulge. These sales numbers correlate directly with a report from Alcohol Monitoring Systems: over 450,000 monitored DUI offenders increased their drinking rates by 33 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
Unfortunately, this increase in drinking can be seen on the road as well. Between 2012 and 2016, an average of 300 people died in DUI crashes the week between Christmas and New Years Day. New Year’s drunk driving is especially dangerous. The state of Missouri alone saw a 71 percent uptick in crashes in the twelve hour span between 6 p.m. Dec. 31 and 6 a.m. the following day.
In December 2016, 781 people died in drunk-driving crashes, making up 25% of the month’s traffic fatalities. Holiday drinking and driving is a problem. Keep reading some of our advice below on how to avoid an abrupt ending to your holiday.
Tips to Avoid Drunk Drivers:
Even if you refrain from drinking, you are still at risk of ending up in an accident. While there is no sure way to avoid a collision with someone who is under the influence, there are a few ways to lower the chance of it happening.
- Always wear your seatbelt. In 2017, 47% of people killed in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts.
- Avoid driving late at night, especially on weekends. The period between midnight and 3 a.m. is the most dangerous time to be on the road.
- If you see any reckless driving that you suspect to be driving under the influence, notify your local law enforcement. Don’t attempt to be the police. Keep a safe distance and give the emergency line operator your best description of the vehicle.
- Drive defensively and stay alert. If you have to drive late at night during the holidays, being vigilant can help you to avoid a collision with an impaired driver.
Preventing Drunk Driving:
Responsible drinking is always suggested, but it is critical between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. In 2018, a hangover aid company, Morning Recovery, polled over 2,000 Americans about their holiday drinking habits. Respondents said, on average, they drink twice as much as they do the rest of the year.
To avoid getting behind the wheel with too much holiday cheer, here are a few tips to avoid drunk driving:
- Make sure to have a designated driver. If you overdo it, having a designated, sober driver is the best alternative. They can get you home safely to avoid harm to yourself or anyone else.
- Limit yourself to one drink an hour. Pacing your consumption at social gatherings will help your body to better metabolize the alcohol.
- Stay hydrated and eat snacks or other food if you decide to drink.
- Have a cab company contact or ride-sharing service app on your phone. Make it as easy as possible for yourself to stay out of the driver’s seat. Having these services directly on your phone will make it easier to resist driving impaired.
Never drive drunk. Don’t let your pride or lack of preparation get in the way of asking for help. A DUI can result in fines, losing your license and jail time. Most importantly, driving buzzed can result in an unnecessary loss of life.