How to Avoid Holiday Drunk Driving

There are few better ways to ring in the new year than with a bottle of champagne and good company. But as one glass of champagne turns into celebratory shots, the risks of fatal accidents this New Year’s Eve go up. During a time of year when drunk driving climbs, it is important to be aware of the risks and what to avoid this holiday season.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a 2011 study which shows 2-3 times more people are likely to die in car crashes during the Christmas and New Year’s season. About 40% of these traffic fatalities involve a driver who is alcohol-impaired (compared to 28% during the rest of December, this statistic is startling).

Obviously, one of the best ways to avoid being involved in an alcohol-impaired accident, is not to be an alcohol-impaired driver yourself. Drinking responsibly can help all drivers avoid becoming part of the problem, and by using a designated driver system, or utilizing ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, there are more ways than ever to make sure you never have to drive while under the influence of alcohol. But drunk-drivers are not the only ones who can be injured or killed in these traffic accidents. According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis’s 2016 report, 38% of fatalities are not the impaired driver, but passengers and non-occupants (pedestrians, cyclists, etc.). With drunk driving being such a risk for your and your family, it will be important to stay safe, even before you get in the car.

  • WATCH FOR THE SIGNS! Everyone can react to alcohol differently, but there are some universal indicators of over-drinking. At .02% Blood Alcohol Concentration, someone might become more relaxed and their mood will start to alter. At .05% BAC, behavior will begin to exaggerate and alertness will lower. The legal limit of BAC is .08%, and at that level, muscle coordination becomes poor, and judgment is seriously impaired.
  • DON’T DRIVE HOME! Having a good time on New Year’s Eve is great, but you should never drive yourself or others home if you’ve been drinking. Even if you’re feeling fine, it is always better to play it safe. Call a taxi or ride-sharing service to get home safely.
  • DON’T LET OTHERS DRIVE! Maybe you haven’t been drinking too much, but your best friend has. Offer to give friends and family a ride home so that they don’t get behind the wheel, and if someone you know is too drunk to drive, insist that they not go home alone.
  • BE CAREFUL WALKING HOME! If you’re celebrating New Year’s with a neighbor, you might not need to drive at all, which can be a great option. But other drivers will be on the road, and it is important to take precautions to make sure you aren’t caught in someone else’s accident. Walk home with your cell phone’s flashlight on, or with brightly colored clothing on to make sure you are easily seen by drivers. Cyclists must take the same precautions when traveling on New Year’s Eve.

As this year comes to a close, make sure you and your loved ones are ringing in a safe and happy new year. If you regulate how much you drink and make sure no one at your New Year’s celebration is driving home intoxicated, then you can help to fight the statistics of drunk driving. Studies show that in recent years, the fatalities caused by drunk driving have been gradually decreasing, but the fatality rates are still too high. Kyle ER is here to help make Kyle safe and healthy in 2018, so join us as we pledge to do everything we can to decrease drunk driving in our community.

Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Kyle Emergency Room or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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