‘Tis the season for office parties, gift exchanges, potlucks, and general merriment. As the weather cools down and the mood is increasingly festive, the dangers of driving under the influence are probably the last thing on your mind as you gather with loved ones this holiday season. In recognition of National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, we’re highlighting the increased danger of driving under the influence as well as ways to keep loved ones safe this season.
5 Ways to Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents During the Holidays
Ask your host about staying the night
If we had a nickel for every alcohol-related mishap we heard about that started with “I was only going to have one drink”…It’s no secret that in a lively, social setting, drinking can quickly get out of control and we can imbibe more than initially planned. Anticipate this possibility and ask the party host whether you could spend the night in case your drinking gets out of hand. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a stressful situation at the end of the night scrambling for a last-minute option. You could get a cab or a ride-share home, but then you’ll have to come back for your vehicle (if you drove). Surge pricing and ride-share availability are other headaches you may have to deal with at the moment.
Download ride-hailing apps ahead of time
Many cities offer complimentary transportation services during the holidays. Taking advantage of this freebie typically requires an app. Check whether there are any local services available to you and be sure to download the necessary apps in advance. You don’t want to be standing outside in the cold, trying to make a download on slow, spotty WiFi. Be sure to also check whether there are any other requirements such as having ID, a passenger minimum or maximum, and the hours of operation.
Eat while you drink, but avoid salty foods
Eating food helps to slow the rate of alcohol consumption, giving holiday revelers a chance to sober up before it’s time to depart. Salty foods, on the other hand, could be counterproductive by making you feel thirsty and in turn, causing you to drink even more. Check with your host beforehand whether food will be available. If not, make a stop to get something that doesn’t need to be refrigerated or, offer to bring a dish to the party – your host will think you’re the perfect guest and you can ensure there’s something to snack on that you know you’ll enjoy, win-win!
Stop drinking 1-2 hours before the end of the party
If you’re a partygoer, avoid drinking an hour or two before departing. However, if there isn’t a clear end time for the party, deciding a cut off time may be difficult. More effective, would be for the host to remove any remaining alcoholic beverages once the party begins winding down. While this may not guarantee that all guests depart sober, it can lower their BAC enough to be the difference between an arrest, or even life or death. It takes about one hour for your body to metabolize one standard drink, and removes about 0.02 BAC from the bloodstream per hour. A “standard drink” is considered to be the following:
- One 12 oz regular beer (4.5-6% alcohol)
- One 12oz White Claw (5% alcohol)
- One 7 oz malt liquor (7% alcohol)
- One 5 oz glass of wine (12% alcohol)
- One 1.5 oz shot of hard liquor (40% alcohol)
- One 0.5 oz of Everclear (95% alcohol)
Avoid driving after midnight
Even being perfectly sober doesn’t spare you from the danger of roadways during the holidays. Most drunk driving, or other types of impaired driving, accidents typically occur during the late hours of the night, between 1 AM and 3 AM. This time often coincides with the closing of bars and other nightlife establishments, where tipsy patrons file out and unwisely, get behind the wheel. When you are on the road, stay as far to the right of the road as possible.
Prevent A Substance Abuse Tragedy this Season
Don’t let an accident or driving penalty caused by impaired driving interrupt your celebrations. The best way to avoid drunk driving during the holidays is to abstain from drinking altogether. If you or a loved one have a drinking problem that’s beyond their control, contact Level Up Lake Worth to give them the best gift of all: the chance to live a long, healthy life.