Holiday Drinking: Sobering Facts & How You Can Prevent Drunk Driving
For many, the holiday season is a time for tradition and giving. But during this time of year, people are more likely to drink beyond a safe limit than during other seasons. Unfortunately, when driving is involved, the resulting consequences can be tragic.
The Damage of Holiday Drinking and Driving
Although drunk driving is illegal in all 50 States, hundreds of lives are lost every holiday season due to drunk drivers. The Department of Transportation reports that over the last five years, an average of 300 people have died in a drunk driving crash the week between Christmas and New Year.
The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that drunk drivers are accountable for 40% of traffic deaths over Christmas and New Year’s, which is an increase of 12% over the rest of December. During the Holiday season, law enforcement increase patrols, and often PSA’s depicting the consequences of driving drunk will rise on TV.
Common Drinking and Driving Myths to Rethink
There are many drinking and driving myths regarding alcohol consumption. The following myths are widely held beliefs that people tend to take as fact. However, they have led drivers to overestimate their ability to drive under the influence. Read below for the most common myths about drinking and driving.
Myth: Drinking Coffee Will Sober Me Up.
Fact: Although caffeine is a stimulant and can counteract alcohol’s sedative effect, it won’t lower your blood alcohol level or immediately improve your coordination and reaction time.
Myth: I’ll Stop Drinking An Hour Before Driving. I’ll Be Safe.
Fact: In general, it takes approximately 1 to 2 hours for the body to metabolize one standard alcoholic drink. Furthermore, factors like body weight, number of drinks consumed, and food you’ve eaten all affect how quickly you recover from a night of drinking, which means an hour will not be enough time for you to sober up before getting behind the wheel.
Myth: If I’m Not Slurring My Words, I’m Okay To Drive.
Fact: Some drivers think that if they don’t show signs of intoxication, they can drive safely. Judgment is one of the first thing affected when someone has been drinking, with coordination and motor skills following. In other words, you might be making a decision you’ll regret as the result of being impaired, but never appear to be drunk.
Myth: “I’ll just drive slower.”
Fact: Many people believe they can compensate for being impaired by driving under the speed limit. This can be very dangerous because the truth is, impaired drivers are unsafe at any speed.
Tips for Staying Safe and Sober this Holiday Season
There’s no denying that driving during the holiday season with more intoxicated drivers on the road is risky. Here’s how you stay safe on the roads during the holidays:
Don’t Drink and Drive. Period.
Whether you consider yourself buzzed, drunk, or wasted – you are impaired and should never get behind the wheel. Driving under the influence can result in an arrest, fines, and possible jail time. If you plan on drinking at a party this season without the worry of driving drunk, plan and designate a sober driver. If you all plan on drinking, use public transportation or a ride-hailing service, and encourage your friends to do the same. If you’re the designated driver, commit to 100% sobriety to keep you and your family and friends safe.
Bring A Non-Alcoholic Drink.
If you’re attending a party and are not sure if there will be non-alcoholic drinks available, bring your own. There are great-tasting, festive drink options that do not contain alcohol.
Don’t Get In The Car With an Impaired Driver.
In 2017, 32% of people who were killed in alcohol-related car crashes were passengers. Don’t take the chance. Use a rideshare app or call a taxi or another sober person for you and the driver.
Take a Defensive Driving Course
To feel safer on the roads year-round (not just during the holidays), consider enrolling in a defensive driving course. Defensive driving courses are designed to teach you advanced driving skills, like how to anticipate potential hazards, recovery techniques, and prevent accidents.
It’s Always Okay to Say No
If you feel that the party or event will not be a safe place for you to stay sober, it’s perfectly acceptable to decline the invite. Try not to feel guilty about not attending. You’re not missing out, and you’re making the best choice for yourself in the long run.
Call the Kansas City Drunk Driving Attorneys at Goss Law Firm for Help
The chances of being the victim of a DUI accident increase exponentially for those traveling by car during the holidays. If you or a loved one were injured in a drunk driving accident caused by others’ negligence or carelessness, contact Goss Law Firm to protect your rights and determine your legal options. Call us today at 816-839-6452 to schedule your free consultation.