As the song goes, there’s no place like home for the holidays. But when everyone is traveling and celebrating with friends and family they may have not seen for a long time, there are more cars on the road, and everyone is drinking more than they usually do. This translates to a dramatic increase in the number of drunk driving accidents during the winter holidays.

No one should have their holiday ruined and their life destroyed over someone else’s reckless decision to drink and drive. That’s why we urge everyone to make smart choices this year by never driving after drinking alcohol and always having an alternate option for getting to and from home when attending holiday parties.

New Year’s Eve is the Deadliest Day of the Year for Alcohol-Related Crashes

According to data collected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an average of 70 people are killed on New Year’s Day alone every year in crashes where at least one person involved was over the legal limit (BAC of 0.08% or higher). When comparing alcohol-related crashes to non-alcohol-related crashes, January 1 has nearly twice as many drunk driving deaths than any other day of the year.

When you stretch that out to the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, there’s an average of 300 drunk driving deaths, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. That’s 300 deaths in just one week, every year, due to drunk drivers.

Don’t Drink and Drive—It’s Not Worth the Risk

When you drink and drive, you aren’t putting only your life at risk, you are also putting the lives of everyone who shares the road with you at risk: other drivers, their passengers, and pedestrians alike.

What many drivers don’t know, however, is that even one drink, even if it doesn’t put you over the legal limit, can impair you enough to increase your risk of an accident.

While you’re not legally intoxicated until you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%, at just 0.02%, which you can reach after only one drink, you will have a harder time multitasking, tracking moving objects, and have impaired judgement.

If you’re caught drinking and driving, you’re not just risking a DUI citation. If you injure someone, you could face criminal charges AND civil charges filed by the injured victim or their family for the cost of their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

How to Celebrate the New Year Safely if You are Drinking

  • Always have an alternate method home. Even if you drive yourself to the festivities, don’t hesitate to stay the night or find another method home if you decide to drink. Your car can always be picked up the following morning, but injuries or deaths can’t be undone.
  • If you plan to drink alcohol, pace yourself. Your level of intoxication is based not only on how much you have to drink, but also how fast you drink. If you have several drinks at the start of the night and then stop, you may still be impaired at the end of the night. Instead, have a drink of water in-between every drink of alcohol, and make sure to eat food as well, as drinking on an empty stomach can make you intoxicated faster.
  • If you are enjoying mixed drinks, use juice instead of soda. Carbonation helps alcohol get absorbed into the blood faster, which means you may get drunk faster.
  • Use the buddy system. You and a friend or family member can help hold each other accountable for how much and how fast you are drinking, and make the recommendation to switch to water or another non-alcoholic drink when necessary.
  • Enjoy something that only looks One major factor that often leads to binge drinking over the holidays and at social events is peer pressure. Even as adults, it can feel awkward to be the only one not drinking at a party. Thankfully, there are many mocktails and mixers such as juice or club soda that you can drink or simply hold without inviting awkward questions or unwelcome but well-intentioned offers to grab you something to drink.
  • Remember that there is no difference between “drunk” and “too drunk to drive.” Once you begin to feel buzzed, you are already too impaired to safely drive.

Injured by a Drunk Driver? Call Joye Law Firm.

The dangers of drunk driving are well known, which is why there is no excuse to ever drink and drive. So, when you or someone you love are hurt by a drunk driver, you should not hesitate to hold them accountable for that harm and demand compensation for your medical bills and pain and suffering.

At Joye Law firm, we’ve helped many families across South Carolina get the help they need after drunk driving crashes that weren’t their fault. We want to help you, too. Call our firm today for a free consultation to learn more and speak with a lawyer.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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