Every year there is an unfortunate rise in drunk driving incidences around the holidays. Between Christmas and New Year’s, when holiday parties are everywhere, and friends are encouraging one another to have an extra drink, the U.S. Department of Transportation finds an increased rate of DUIs. While it can be fun to celebrate during this time of year, New Braunfels ER wants to urge everyone to stay safe this holiday season and drink responsibly.
To help you and your family enjoy the holidays safely, we want to discuss holiday drinking risks and the steps you can take to make sure you never end up intoxicated behind the wheel.
Drunk Driving Risks
We all know the dangers of driving under the influence, but as one year ends and a new one begins, the rate of drunk driving goes up. Studies show that from 2012-2016, 28% of traffic related deaths during the month of December were directly related to drunk driving. This includes people behind the wheel, sitting passenger, in another car, and even pedestrians. A drunk driving collision hurts more than just the drunk driver, which makes it all the more important for everyone to play it safe with alcohol.
Knowing When to Say No
Most people can agree that one drink or glass of wine with friends isn’t enough to impair someone, and usually this is true. Having a bit of champagne on New Year’s Eve or some alcoholic egg nog to celebrate the holidays is not immediately going to make someone too drunk to drive. But knowing your limits is important for making sure that you don’t end up in a difficult situation. Here are some common tips to help you maintain control when you’re drinking at parties:
- Always eat! Drinking on an empty stomach is a fast way to be in over your head with one or two drinks alone. Having a good meal with your drinks will help your body to digest alcohol gradually, rather than overloading your liver all at once.
- Drink water! Just like eating, water helps your body to meter out its alcohol intake. It will keep you hydrated as well as assist your body properly process any alcohol consumption.
- Don’t mix! This is a lesson that many people learn when they’re younger and just starting to drink alcohol. Mixing different kinds of alcohol can make someone get a lot drunker a lot faster. Whether you start with beer and then have a whiskey cocktail or begin with tequila sunrises and end with red wine, mixing alcohol can be risky and should be avoided. When you mix alcohol types, you make it harder for your body to process the alcohol, which means you can feel the effects of it much quicker.
These rules might seem self-explanatory to some, but they can be some of the best ways to drink responsibly and maintain your control. Alcohol safety begins with preventing intoxication in the first place. The only way to sober up is to let time pass. No matter what you’ve heard, there are no proven “folk remedies” that will make it safe for you to drive again.
Even when you’re going down the street to your neighbor’s house, or celebrating with family, it can be important to know who is and who is not going to be drinking. Since this time of year can be so risky for drunk driving, getting a designated driver or two can be a sure-fire way to make sure everyone gets home safely.
If you’re hosting a party, then consider being a designated driver yourself. As a sober host, you will not only be able to get your loved ones home safe, but you’ll be better able to monitor how much all of your guests have been drinking. If you can spot who has perhaps had a bit too much, you can intervene by offering to take them home, calling them a ride-sharing service, or even giving them a place to sleep for the night in your home. These are all good ways to make sure no one is getting behind the wheel when they shouldn’t.
Drunk driving doesn’t just affect drivers. Car accidents can impact pedestrians and bikers too and are often much more dangerous for those outside a vehicle. Some people choose to walk to nearby parties and events to get some extra steps in and free themselves from the risk of driving home drunk, but this is not a guaranteed safety measure.
When its dark out and you’re walking home, other drivers will have trouble seeing you, including those under the influence. This can make biking and walking dangerous during the holidays, since the number of people who are driving while intoxicated is higher. This can sometimes make it safer to drive short distances and is another time when ride sharing services can come in handy.
If you do need to walk or bike, though, it is very important to have something brightly colored or reflective with you. Carrying a small flashlight, wearing bright shoes or a bright jacket can make you easier to spot for any cars and thusly lower your risk of being involved in an accident.
Here at New Braunfels ER, we know how festive this time of year can be. We never want anyone to have to give up their holiday fun, but we urge everyone in our communities to make sure they are drinking and traveling responsibly. Using ride share apps, wearing reflective clothing on walks, and monitoring how much you drink are all small ways you can make sure that you and your loved ones stay safe this holiday season. In the event of any medical emergencies, though, our facility is open 24/7 with concierge-level emergency care for patients of all ages.
Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on New Braunfels Emergency Room or any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.