Don’t Drink and Drive: Be Safe This Holiday Season

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

It’s the holiday season, and festive events are ramping up through January 1. Many of the events will include alcohol, and judgement can be impaired when drinking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1/3 of traffic deaths in the United States involve a motor vehicle driver who has a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of 0.08%.

We have some tips to help you and your friends be safe getting home this holiday season and avoid the dangers of drinking and driving.

Remember, if you’re tipsy, you’re too drunk to drive.

If you’re a guest…

Don’t drink when out. If you’re worried you won’t be safe, the easiest thing to do is not to drink. Drink non-alcoholic apple cider or virgin eggnog, and you’ll enjoy the holiday party just as much.

Set a number of drinks you’ll have for the evening. Decide ahead of time how many drinks you’ll have over the course of the evening, and stick to it. Keep in mind your tolerance, how much you’ll be eating, and how long the event is. Three drinks over six hours is very different than two drinks in ninety minutes.

Pace yourself. Try having a glass of something non-alcoholic for every glass of something alcoholic that you have. It will give the alcohol time to affect you, and you can gauge if you really want another drink.

Arrange alternate transportation: designated driver, ride-share, taxi, or public transit. You can go the classic route of a designated driver, with one member of your group agreeing to abstain from alcohol and drive the rest of the group home. You can also use a ride-sharing service, call a taxi, or take public transit home.

Stay in your neighborhood and walk.
Depending on where you live, where your friends live, and what your neighborhood is like, you may want to limit drinking to events in your neighborhood where you can safely walk home. Walking while intoxicated can still pose dangers, such as darting out into traffic, but it reduces the dangers compared to driving yourself. If you’re going to a holiday party at the house of a friend who lives two blocks away, walking may be the smartest choice.

If you’re the host…

Provide non-alcoholic drinks. Make sure that you have water, soda, and even non-alcoholic seasonal drinks on hand during all of your parties. They should be just as easily available as the alcoholic beverages.

Serve food. Make sure there are plenty of options for guests to eat, and that you accommodate common food restrictions such as having vegetarian options, dairy-free options, etc. If it’s a smaller party, take into account the known food restrictions your guests have.

Keep car keys. If you’re hosting an event and you’re worried some people will over-indulge, take their car keys at the start of the evening. If they may not be sober when they go to leave, help them find a sober driver – another party-goer, a ride-share, or a taxi.