How to Stop Drinking and Driving Over Memorial Day Weekend
Memorial Day Weekend traditionally kicks off the fun and sunny season of summer as many schools are dismissed for the year, and most employees enjoy a three-day weekend.
Unfortunately, it also marks one of the more dangerous weekends of the year for fatal vehicle accidents, especially those related to alcohol use.
The National Safety Council estimates 380 people will die on the nation’s roadways this Memorial Day Weekend, which officially runs from 6:00 pm Friday, May 24, through Monday, May 27.
During an average year, 29 percent of fatal vehicle crashes will result from an alcohol-impaired driver, but that percentage is typically 8 to 10 points higher on Memorial Day Weekend. For example, in 2016, the latest year for which statistics are available, 36 percent of fatality accidents on Memorial Day Weekend related to alcohol impairment, compared to 28 percent for the year. A similar trend for 2019 would mean nearly 140 lives could be lost to alcohol-impaired driving.
You can help beat these trends and keep yourself, your family, and your loved ones safe this weekend. Don’t drink and drive. Follow these five ideas to make sure drinking and driving are not part of your Memorial Day Weekend.
1. Know Your Limits
First, realize you should consume alcohol in moderation. Responsible drinking means knowing your limit and understanding that you can never drive safely after drinking alcohol. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility provides a calculator to give you an idea, based on your size, age, and gender (and even what foods you consume), how alcohol will affect you. It even tells you how long it takes for the alcohol to leave your system (it’s longer than you might think).
2. Designate a Sober Driver
This is always the safest way of ensuring everyone in your circle stays safe for the weekend. If you’re planning a full weekend of activities, you can rotate who serves as the designated driver, so the entire burden isn’t on one person for the weekend.
It’s also a good idea for your family or group of friends to agree in advance to act as the sober cop. Give this person the authority to take keys away from anyone they feel is not safe to drive.
3. Take Taxis or Ride Shares
If you’re pretty sure everyone in your group is going to be consuming alcohol, take a taxi or ride-sharing service when you head out to party. If no one has a car where you’re partying, no one will have the temptation to drive after drinking.
4. Plan to Stay Put
If you’re heading out to a lake or park for the weekend, make sure you have accommodations for everyone to spend the night(s). Renting a cabin or a bunch of tents and booking a camping spot in advance can ensure you have a safe place to hang out while drinking with family and friends. Plus, it’s a fun way to hang out together.
Having other recreational activities planned also will ensure your guests don’t spend the entire time drinking. Just remember, boats and watercraft don’t mix with alcohol any better than cars, so make sure whoever is participating in those activities also is sober when they get behind the wheel or handlebars.
5. Schedule a Sober Monday
If you’re planning a full weekend of activities, try to line up events on Monday such as museum visits, amusement parks, athletic activities, or children’s activities that won’t encourage binge drinking. This way, everyone can be prepared to travel home safely. They might even thank you when they don’t have to face a hangover at work on Tuesday.
While avoiding fatalities and accidents is a crucial component of not drinking and driving, the other costs of being arrested and losing your driving privileges for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) also should factor into your decision-making.
Stay in tune with the latest information about the dangers of driving while intoxicated on our blog. If you or someone you know has a drunk driving conviction and is required to install an ignition interlock device, contact us to keep this person safe behind the wheel.
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