How to Keep Your Holidays Merry and Bright
’Tis the season for holiday celebrations! But hold on there…we want to remind you ’tis also the season to be extra cautious on roadways. December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention month, and what better time to address dangers of driving intoxicated than now? This month abounds with lots of food and lots to drink. We know it’s easy to get caught up in all the cheer and merriment of the holiday season, and that’s why it’s a really good time to remember the consequences of driving impaired. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), data shows that the holiday season is a particularly dangerous time on the roadways:
- In 2011, 760 people lost their lives as a result of drunk-driving-related crashes during the month of December alone.
- Nearly 30% of the 14,318 December crash fatalities from 2007 to 2011 involved drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.
It may be easy to tune statistics out, but take a moment to really visualize the risks of drunk and buzzed driving and how you’ll be affected. A DUI conviction stays on your record indefinitely, affecting your home life, your work, and just about every other aspect of your life. Being convicted of a DUI comes at great cost: monetary loss due to legal fees, lost wages, and potential civil lawsuits — not to mention a significant increase in your auto insurance rates. If you believe putting yourself at risk isn’t that big of a deal, then at least think of the innocent people who could be injured or killed because of YOUR bad decision. Living with the aftermath of such incidents is devastating. How could you ever make it up to them? No matter how you look at it, driving under the influence of even ONE drink is not worth the risks.
The best decision you can make is one you make before partaking in any consumption of alcohol. If you are attending a party or event where alcohol will be present, decide beforehand to either abstain from drinking completely or to abstain from driving. You must decide on your plan BEFORE you begin enjoying the festivities, especially if you tend to have trouble abstaining even when you know you need to drive. Once alcohol hits your system, you’re a lot more likely to make poor decisions.
If you’re going to be with a group of people, select a designated driver. There are several organizations that participate in a designated driver program, with many establishments offering incentives like complimentary non-alcoholic beverages for the DD. Who doesn’t love FREE?
In case you can’t find a designated driver, or if your designated driver fails to maintain sobriety, have a taxi cab number on hand to call at the end of the night to pick you up and drop you off. It’s a lot less expensive than a DUI.
Now … go drink and be merry! Just remember – your drink doesn’t have to be alcoholic, and never should be if you plan to drive.