We are in the vortex of the holiday season and one of the most festive times of year. Whether we’re celebrating with a karaoke machine at an office party, meeting up with old college roommates at some “old haunts” or winding down with family after a huge meal, chances are there’s alcohol involved. A little red wine or a shot of whiskey will bring life to any gathering, but it’s easy to go overboard, especially during the holidays. Many party people don’t intend to drink as much as they do, but still end up driving under the influence of alcohol. Not only is driving drunk illegal, but it is one of the most preventable types of car accidents. Unfortunately most drunk drivers (even “just the buzzed” ones) realize their bad decision until it’s too late; when they are facing a suspended license, a traffic violation, or time behind bars for killing an innocent motorist or pedestrian.
Drive Sober This Holiday Season
Drunk driving is a problem of epidemic proportions, but despite the efforts to educate young and old, amp up enforcement, or make laws stricter, alcohol related accidents continue to occur. According to the United States Department of Transportation, every 2 hours, three people are killed in alcohol-related highway crashes. It’s not to say that all efforts to prevent drunk driving are lost, but drivers must change their thinking and the way they choose to drive. Whether it means sacrificing a night of inebriated fun to be the designated driver or park the car and take a taxi home, making a commitment to be one less drunk driver on the road can save lives.
Many drivers assume that just having one or two drinks during the course of the evening gives them an automatic “ok” to get behind the wheel. Sure, you may have eaten a meal with your beer or drank a lot of water in between those cocktails and you might feel completely fine, but even a small amount of alcohol can start to impair your judgment. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, alcohol affects some people more quickly than they might think or feel.
Take a 150 lb. man. He’s at a holiday party, milling about with a beer in his hand, chatting with co-workers and after 20 minutes, he has finished his drink. His estimated Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level is about 0.02%, which is well below the legal limit of 0.08%. But even at a low BAC he might be feeling relaxed and his visual functions may begin to be impaired, as well as his judgment. After he finishes his beer, his officemate hands him a shot of hard alcohol. Within a short minute’s time, his BAC reaches close to 0.05%, at this point he should not consider driving as he may be impaired and his reaction time, coordination, and ability to track moving objects has slowed down considerably.
While everyone’s body reacts differently to alcohol, depending on their weight, overall health, and the type of drink, impairment can occur quickly. Your best prevention to being involved in a drunk driving accident is to make the verbal commitment not to drive while under the influence.
Say “Yes” to Holiday Celebrations and “No” to Drunk Driving
Are you afraid of being viewed as the “square” of the party because you refuse to drive even after a few drinks? If you have friends who will judge you for drinking responsibly, you should find more responsible and caring friends! If you have and your pals have a full calendar of parties this holiday season, why not carpool and take turns being a designated driver? Not only will you be saving gas, but you will also be saving lives during the holidays. Instead of exchanging gifts this year, why not give your friends the gift of being a sober driver? If you notice a partygoer who is contemplating driving while drunk, pay it forward and pay for a taxi fare. There are plenty of fun, lifesaving gift ideas to keep you and your loved ones safe from an alcohol-related accident.
Drive Sober and Save Up for Something Special
If you or someone you know is the type that thinks that “just a few drinks won’t affect me”, think again. Your choice to abstain from driving under the influence could be lifesaving this holiday season. Need more reason to say no? The typical DUI costs about $10,000 after all is done (including fees, fines, and bail). Would you rather pay off a not-so-smart DUI or would you rather buy tickets for your family to some place warm to escape the winter weather?