Everyone loves a good party. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, a promotion, or a new baby, it’s fun to gather with your friends and family to enjoy food, fellowship and maybe a few drinks. Alcohol is the drink of choice for many celebrations, especially during the approaching holiday season. Even though drinking can be fun, it can also be incredibly dangerous, both to the consumer and those around them.
In the United States, someone is injured in a drunk driving crash every two minutes and during the course of a year, these accidents cost the U.S. 199 billion dollars. These statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Driving are daunting, but what’s even scarier is the fact that the average drunk driver has driven impaired at least 80 times before they are first arrested. That’s 80 accidents that could have potentially happened, and 80 or more lives that could have been lost due to one person’s negligence.
It’s a trend that must be stopped and, although the number of drunk driving deaths has been cut in half since MADD was founded in 1980, we still have a long way to go. There will always be people who act without thinking. Eliminating the problem entirely may not be realistic, but there are things you can do to make it easier for you and your friends to drink responsibly and avoid the temptation to drive drunk, even if you’re “not driving very far.”
Helping Your Guests Drink Responsibly
Being the host of a party or get together comes with a lot of responsibilities, not least of which is making sure your guests are drinking alcohol responsibly. You can make decisions and put measures in place in advance that can protect your partygoers later. While they may not appreciate it at the time, they and their families will thank you for looking out for their well-being. Keep your guests safe by:
- Offering non-alcoholic beverages.
- Encouraging them to alternate alcoholic drinks with glasses of water.
- Providing fat-rich food/snacks that help to slow the rate of alcohol absorption (meat, nuts, etc.).
- Keeping an eye on how much they drink. If a guest starts to become too tipsy, you can help them arrange alternate transportation.
- Enforcing a cut-off time. Stop serving alcoholic beverages a couple of hours before the party is set to end. This will give everyone a chance to sober up a bit.
- Avoiding games that encourage rapid consumption, like Beer Pong or Quarters.
- Don’t drink too much yourself. If you’re too intoxicated, you cannot adequately care for your guests.
Helping Yourself Drink Responsibly
It’s fun to go out, to let loose and have a few drinks, and there’s nothing wrong with that so long as it is done in a safe and responsible manner. The number one way you can care for yourself while drinking is to avoid driving in any way shape or form. That includes bicycles, motorcycles, and scooters, as well as cars. If you’ve had more than a drink or two, you’re simply not equipped to be operating anything with wheels. If you go out for the night, make sure you:
- Have a plan for getting home ready in advance. Either program the number of a cab company into your phone or arrange a ride from a friend or designated driver within your group.
- Have a backup plan for your first plan. A good option is public transportation. Know where the closest bus stop is and how to get home from there in the event that your driver doesn’t come through or you are unable to get a taxi for some reason.
- Park your car somewhere safe. This is especially useful if you only planned on having a drink or two but went a bit overboard. If your car is in a good location where it can stay overnight, you’ll be a lot less likely to feel as though you have to drive.
- Know your limit. Whether you’re driving or not, you should keep tabs on how much you’re consuming.
- Never convince yourself that driving is the only way; it’s not. You can almost always hail a cab, call a friend, or take the bus. Your bartender may be able to help you find safe transport as well.
We certainly hope that these tips will help you and your loved ones drink responsibly this holiday season. Remember though, not everyone will follow these rules. If you are out driving late at night, be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for impaired drivers on the road and alert police if you believe someone to be intoxicated.
If you are hit by a drunk driver, your first call should be to 9-1-1 and your second call should be to The Frickey Law Firm. We represent those who have been injured in car accidents through no fault of their own. Call us at 303-237-7373 for a free and completely confidential consultation.
From the Frickey Law Family to you and yours, we wish you a very Happy Holidays!