Now that the holidays are over, it is time to reflect on the season. One question to ask is: were you a responsible and safe driver during the holidays? There are many festive events to attend, from casual gatherings with friends and family to formal office Christmas parties, New Year’s Eve blowouts, and quick holiday-themed cocktails after work. Each of these events present the opportunity to make smart choices when drinking and driving, or they could represent terrible mistakes that have long-term ramifications.
When partying for the holidays, there is one simple request: Don’t drink and drive. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and fellow motorists – alcohol and driving don’t mix. The holiday season is particularly devastating when it comes to drunk driving incidents. The U.S. National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the period between “Blackout Wednesday, or the day before Thanksgiving, through New Year’s Day accounts for approximately 1200 alcohol-related driving deaths every year. Thousands of other injuries and collisions that result in property damage take their toll as well. Here are some tips to make responsible choices any time of the year, and especially during the next holiday season.
Designated Drivers Save Lives
The best course of action if you go out and plan to drive is to avoid alcohol altogether. But, if you plan on drinking at a social event or holiday party, it is always a good idea to have a designated driver. This could be a family member or a friend who agrees to stay sober, giving them the ability to get you home safely.
While there are many variables in terms of how much alcohol is too much, such as body type, tolerance, consumption of foods, etc., there is a time-honored rule of thumb to use when drinking. The rule? One drink per hour – approximately the same rate at which the human body processes alcohol. One drink does not equal a giant mug of beer or a double cocktail; rather, this refers to “standard” drink sizes, such as:
- One 12-ounce beer
- One cocktail or other mixed drink containing no more than 1.5 oz. of alcohol
- One 5-ounce glass of wine or champagne
By following this rule, you can enjoy your favorite drinks while minimizing impairment. Don’t think of this rule as a way to get around safe driving practices, however – a designated driver is a good choice, or you can always call a taxi to get home.
Responsible Party Hosting
If you invite friends and family over for a holiday get-together, it is critical to understand that if you serve alcohol at your party, you may be held liable for any incidents that occur to guests as a result of their drinking. In incidents like drunk-driving collisions, property damage, injuries, or deaths caused by guests drinking alcohol that you serve, the laws may not be on your side. To be a responsible party host, you can:
- Stop serving alcoholic drinks at least one hour before the party is over.
- If someone drinks too much at your party, it is your responsibility as the party host to ensure that they get home safely. You can call them a cab, have them spend the night, or arrange for other safe transportation home. Under no circumstances must you allow them to get into a car and try to drive.
- Measure the amount of alcohol mixed into each drink (see the responsible drinking rule of thumb above).
With these tips, it is easier than ever to stay safe during the holiday season. Remember, if you plan to drink, don’t drive. And, if you plan to drive, don’t drink. Yours truly, All County Insurance.