Submitted by the American Red Cross, Central Illinois Region
Impaired driving is one of the most prominent causes of preventable vehicular crashes in Illinois and nationwide. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, every 45 minutes someone in the United States is killed from an alcohol-related automobile crash. With numerous holiday social events to attend and family and friends to visit, the holiday season can provide an increased number of opportunities to drink and drive.
The American Red Cross encourages everyone to “resolve to be responsible” this holiday season, and offers these tips to keep the season merry and bright.
Be a responsible holiday host. If you want to serve alcohol to your holiday party guests, be sure to also offer nonalcoholic beverages as well. Don’t be afraid to take the car keys from an individual who drank too much, and encourage them to stay the night or call a ride.
Designate a sober driver or skip the holiday cheer. If you plan to drink alcoholic beverages at an event, be sure to designate a sober driver in advance. Remember, a designated driver is someone who does not have even one alcoholic beverage. If you do not have a designated driver, play it safe and don’t drink.
Decide how much you will drink ahead of time. After you have a designated driver lined up, determine before heading to the holiday function how many drinks you will have and don’t deviate from your plan. Also, be sure to stay hydrated by alternating alcoholic beverages with a glass of water.
Don’t be afraid to use your “lifeline.” If you find yourself in a situation where you have overindulged, be sure to call a friend or family member to pick you up. It may be inconvenient to arrange to get your car the next day, but a DUI arrest is far more inconvenient.
Be careful driving to and from events. Even if you have taken all the proper steps to not drink and drive, remember that other people on the road may not be as responsible. Observe the speed limit, always buckle up and try to avoid driving during hours that people may be heading home from a night of partying such as late on New Year’s Eve or on the day before Thanksgiving. If you see an individual that appears to be driving impaired, keep your distance from the vehicle and contact the police department using a hands-free device
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