Don’t Settle for Less This Christmas
The holidays are a time of joy and revelry, a time to share and create lasting memories with loved ones. They are also a time of needless tragedy, one of the most dangerous times to be on the nation’s roadways. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Transportation found that an average of 300 people have died in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents every year over the last five years.
In another study, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that the vast majority of fatal accidents occurred on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day. Over the four year period of the study, more than 40% of the fatalities for the entire month occurred at the New Year’s holiday and as many as almost 38% at Christmas. The NHTSA study concluded that alcohol was a factor in around four of every 10 fatal accidents at Christmas and New Year’s. Statistics gathered by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) found alcohol to be even more of a factor, involved in 52% of fatal accidents on Christmas and 57% of fatal accidents at the New Year’s holiday.
Steps You Can Take to Minimize the Risk of a Holiday Drunk Driving Accident
The good news—most drunk driving accidents are almost entirely preventable. Here are some ways that you can avoid or minimize the risk of an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident this holiday season:
- Plan ahead—If you know you’ll be attending a party where alcohol will be served, arrange a ride in advance. This may involve identifying a designated driver or contacting a ride-share or cab service to arrange to be picked up at a specific time.
- Have the party at your house—Invite everyone to your house and you won’t have to worry about getting behind the wheel or being on the road with drunk drivers. You’ll want to think about your guests, too. Have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available. Offer guests a place to sleep, if necessary, or arrange transportation for anyone who is not fit to drive.
- Be willing to be tough—Be willing to take keys away from someone who may be impaired. In addition, be willing to refuse to allow a person to have additional alcohol.
- Be overly cautious on the roads—You know there will be drunk drivers on the roads. You can’t completely avoid that. However, you can intentionally maintain a little more distance between you and other drivers, and you can pay more attention to your surroundings.
- Report any suspected drunk drivers—If you do get on the road and observe other drivers who appear to be impaired, call the police and report the location of the driver as well as the make and model of the car. You may prevent a serious or fatal accident.
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