December is a time for holiday celebrations, time spent with family and friends, and enjoying the spirit of the season. Unfortunately, it is also the time of year when accidents due to impaired driving significantly increase.
Impaired driving is commonly defined as driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs, but has also been expanded to driving while using your cell phone. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, during the time between Christmas and New Year’s there is a significant amount of fatalities due to impaired driving. This holiday season, keep these tips in mind to help you and your loved ones stay safe.
- Designate a driver. Before you go out, decide who is not drinking and will drive to ensure a safe ride home.
- Ask for a ride. If you’re planning to drink, prepare ahead of time by asking a friend or family member to pick you up when the party’s over.
- Drink moderately. Moderate drinking is defined as 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.
- Remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving. While the legal limit is 0.08, it is never a good idea to drive after drinking. There are a variety of factors that can influence your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Call a taxi, family member or friend to come get you if you drink more than planned.
- Rely on public transportation. Opt for a taxi, the bus, the train, or a car service to transport you to and from your destination.
- Don’t use your cell phone when driving. The use of cell phones also impairs you while driving.
- Never get into a vehicle with someone you know is impaired. Call a taxi, family member or friend to pick you up instead. Also, consider encouraging the impaired person not to drive!
- When driving, always keep a safe distance from impaired drivers. If you see someone you suspect is an impaired driver, take these steps:
- Observe the make, model and color of the vehicle. If possible, try to remember the license plate number, too.
- If it is safe to do so, pull over and call the police. Provide details such as what the vehicle looks like, where you saw it (be sure to note the street name), direction the vehicle is traveling, and any other information you feel would be helpful for them to locate the vehicle.
- Never compromise your safety when trying to get details of the vehicle!
From all of us at Health Advocate, we hope you and your loved ones have a happy, healthy holiday season!