Tips to Avoid Drunk and Drugged Driving

December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about the effects of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The risks of driving while impaired are real and can result in tragic consequences such as jail, or even worse, death.

It is no question that the holiday season brings drunk and drugged driving to an all-time high. The U.S. Army says that “drug and alcohol use impair judgment, delay reaction times, and can result in deadly consequences when driving.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also shares that “drugs (for example, marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18 percent of motor vehicle driver deaths while drunk driving accidents account for 31 percent of all motor vehicle accidents.”

The following list includes a few simple tips for celebrating and driving safely this holiday season, provided by the U.S. Army:

• Designate a non-drinking driver ahead of time.

• If drinking alcohol at a party or other celebration, allow at least one hour between drinks. It takes one hour to get rid of one drink from your body (one drink is equal to a 12-ounce beer, 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1?-ounce shot of liquor).

• Set limits beforehand of the number of drinks to have and stick with it.

• Alternate drinking alcoholic beverages with soda, juice or water and eat food.

• Don’t mix alcohol with other drugs, including over-the-counter and prescription medications.

• Don’t ride with someone who is impaired. Use other means of transportation such as a taxi, public transportation or driver who is sober.

If you are hosting a party, here are some steps to take to help your guests drive safely:

• Plan ahead and designate a sober driver.

• Collect each guest’s keys upon arrival and store in a designated basket.

• Serve foods along with alcohol-free beverages such as soda, juice or water.

• If making an alcoholic punch, use fruit juice instead of a carbonated drink. Alcohol absorbs faster into the blood stream when mixed with carbonated drinks.

• Stop serving alcohol 1 to 1? hours before the party actually ends.

If you take a medication that makes you drowsy, do not drive. Have someone drive you.

During Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, recommit yourself to preventing the loss of life by reminding others to be sober and drug free, and use safe driving practices on the road.

Drink responsibly, drive responsibly and encourage family members, friends and co-workers to be safe and responsible drivers for the holidays and beyond.

NHTSA also shares a few tips to stay safe:

  • If you are planning to drink, plan ahead for a sober ride home. It’s not okay to drink and drive, even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage. 
  • If you are using any impairing drugs, including marijuana, don’t drive, arrange for a safe ride home. Impaired driving is illegal, regardless of the source of impairment.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, safely pull over and call 911.
  • Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

Please remember that it is more important to keep family and friends safe at all times. Be safe this season.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of A Second Chance, Inc.

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