The holiday season brings many things: feasts and get-togethers, long-lost family members, the joys of giving and receiving presents. But it also brings something far less pleasant: an increase in drunk driving accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 700 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in December 2013, and the number has been steadily rising each year.
Yes to Drinking Means NO to Driving
One of the major causes of both drunk driving accidents in Texas is a simple failure to plan ahead. People often think that just one drink won’t impair them, and then they have a few more, and when the time comes to leave they get into their cars on autopilot. Many consider themselves sober enough to drive even though they are “tipsy” or “buzzed” (not realizing that the law considers them drunk).
There is a simple way to avoid causing a holiday DUI crash: if you are drinking, do NOT drive. Even one drink can impair driving ability, and even moderate drinking increases your risk of:
- Impaired judgment. Alcohol affects all people differently, so even if you know how many drinks you can have before you’re drunk, the law may not agree. It is also notoriously difficult for an intoxicated person to judge his or her level of intoxication, causing many people to wrongly assume they are able to drive.
- Getting pulled over. Police are more likely to be camped out looking for drunk drivers around the holidays. Even if you think you are not “drunk enough” to be a danger on the roads, the police will be the first to remind you that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.
- Having a few more. Holiday parties are a chance to cut loose, and once you start drinking, you may not be able to judge how many drinks you have had—or when you have had enough.
Think Before You Drink!
In addition to all the presents you’re planning on giving away, you could give yourself a few by not drinking. Consider how planning ahead when you drink can pay off:
- Financially. If you are pulled over after drinking, you could face up to $10,000 in costs, not to mention jail time and the loss of your driver’s license. Attorney fees and court costs can add to that sum, making you into a pauper overnight. By taking a cab, you are essentially giving yourself thousands of dollars!
- In peace of mind. Your family has gathered together to see you, and would be devastated if anything happened to you. When you plan ahead, you are letting your family know that their presence in your life is valuable—a much better gift than anything you can buy in a store.
- To your friends. When you remain sober, you are more likely to notice when others are taking risks. If a friend or family member is drinking, do not let that person drive. If he or she plans to walk home, make sure someone you trust is available to walk alongside them.
If you plan on drinking over the holidays, do just that: make a plan for how you will get home. Ask a friend to carpool to the event, and offer to drive if your friends want to drink. Alternatively, you can add a few numbers of taxi services on your cell phone or plan to stay the night at the host’s house. Above all, make your plans before you begin drinking.
Need one more way you can reduce drunk driving crashes? Share this article on Facebook or send it to a friend through email to make sure everyone stays happy and healthy this holiday season.