The holidays are a magical time of year—the lights are twinkling, the stores are buzzing and friends and families are gathering. It’s a time that calls for fun and festivities, and alcohol often plays a role in the celebration. However, a combination of good cheer and abundant alcohol can take the fun too far and have devastating consequences.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, Orange County cities have the highest DUI rates in the state of California and between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day the number of alcohol-related traffic accidents tend to spike.
While it is wonderful to enjoy the festivities, it’s important to stay safe during the holiday season. The good news is there are a variety of options to avoid impaired driving. Here are five tips to remember that could just save a life this holiday season:
- Before going to a party or celebration, designate a nondrinking driver. You can remind friends around you to do the same, and carpool with someone who will be safe and sober at the wheel. Going to a bar or restaurant? Make sure to cover your designated driver’s food and nonalcoholic drinks!
- Call a taxi, Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare program. All of them are available through a simple app, and make it easy to get home. Some apps even offer holiday discounts to encourage you to use their service.
- Be a good host! If you are hosting a party where there will be alcohol, remind your guests to plan ahead and make sure everyone leaves with a sober driver! Also, be sure to offer alcohol-free drinks and make sure the alcohol is kept in a secure location. This ensures minors will not be able to help themselves and your adult guests will have to request a drink, allowing you to monitor your guest’s consumption.
- Buckle up. It sounds simple, but this is your best defense against a drunk driver who may be on the road.
- Avoid the roads at peak dangerous times. Of all fatal crashes occurring from midnight to 3 a.m. throughout the week, the U.S. Department of Transportation found that 61 percent involved alcohol-impaired driving.
Waymakers is a nonprofit organization that builds safer communities by helping individuals make their way through conflict and crisis to a place of strength and stability. Project PATH (Positive Action Toward Health) is committed to the same mission of creating safe and healthy neighborhoods by addressing public health issues—like alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, too. Our education and prevention programs have been proven to help mitigate risk factors and promote constructive decision-making and behaviors that benefit the entire community. These programs include reducing problems associated with alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and create a general awareness through community partnerships, businesses, schools, colleges, healthcare sites, and community-based organizations.