For many Americans, St. Patrick’s Day has become a day of celebrations; a time to wear green, don shamrocks, gather along green streets for a parade, and attend parties. It is also a time synonymous with consuming copious amounts of alcohol.
You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and auto accidents don't discriminate based on nationality. The holiday has also become one of the deadliest days of the year due to drunk driving. In 2016 alone, 60 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Paddy’s Day holiday period (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18), according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
If you do plan to consume alcohol this holiday weekend, don’t rely on the luck o’ the Irish to keep you safe. Here are a few things to keep in mind before your festivities begin.
Designate a sober driver.
Wear your seatbelt.
If you drive to your celebration and become impaired, call a taxi, sober friend or family member, or use a form of public transportation.
Don’t believe caffeine or eating can sober you up or make you less intoxicated.
Remember “buzzed” driving is the same as “drunk” driving; don’t do it!
If you are hosting a party and someone is about to drive while impaired, that the keys and make arrangements to get them to where they are going safely.
Remember, you don’t have to be drunk to become a victim. The luck of the Irish is not enough to protect you against a possible encounter with an impaired driver. If you are on the roadways, be extra mindful of your surroundings and watch for other motorists. Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you and take extra precautions at intersections. If you see someone driving recklessly, pull over and call the police. You just might save a life. It is important to watch for intoxicated pedestrians.