Keys For After-Party Safety

Alcohol Free zone text on pavementWe’ve all heard the statistics on driving under the influence of alcohol. It’s bad news. Every day 28 Americans die as a result of drunk driving, whether they were in the car or just in the wrong place. That’s over ten thousand people. The number of injuries caused is twenty times that number. Alcohol-related accidents are worse during the holidays, with inclement weather, increased traffic, and higher rates of drinking leading to a spike in both number and severity of accidents.

With all this in mind, you know not to drive while intoxicated. There are still all those company parties and family Christmas celebrations, though, and even if you abstain entirely other people will be drinking at your gathering. You may be wondering what steps you can take to prevent a serious accident. Read these tips from the Heidebreicht family to yours on how to keep the roads safer this season.

  1. Appoint a designated driver. This is the most common piece of advice at any time of year, but it bears repeating. It is absolutely safest if the person driving has had no alcohol at all. Choose someone with a spacious vehicle like a Chevy Equinox, or have someone in the group lend the driver theirs. Make sure you have extra room in case you need to give a ride to some less-prepared party-goers. Companies should consider posting a sign-up sheet for designated drivers ahead of their functions. Offering incentives such as flex time or gas cards for these employees will ensure there are plenty of volunteers. Of course, every passenger should chip in for fuel as well.
  2. Plan to stay over. When the party is at a friend’s or family member’s house, there’s no reason to drive if you overindulge. Call ahead and ask your friend if there’s a guest room or spare sofa where you could sleep off the good cheer. Pack a change of clothes and a toothbrush in an overnight bag to stash in the coat closet. Before you leave the next day, show your appreciation by helping clean up after the party or cook the hostess breakfast. Your gratitude will make it easier to get an invitation the next time you want to use the guest room.
  3. Use public transportation. Let’s face it: it gets cold in the winter here in Macomb County. You won’t want to walk home unless you live within five minutes of where you were drinking. Check out the nearest bus route and plan where to catch it before you take your first sip. Putting it off until you want to go makes it that much more likely you’ll have a moment of weakness and grab your keys.
  4. Call a cab. Taxi companies hire extra help during the winters, so you won’t have a long wait. Established taxi companies are very safe. Choose one you recognize and check for a license displayed by the driver before getting in. If you use a company such as Lyft or Uber, take a picture of the driver and license plate and send it to a friend as an extra level of caution.
  5. Watch out for teens. Teenagers and college students are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to drunk driving. Consider a “safety pass” policy: your teen promises to call you for a ride if they’re drunk, no questions asked for at least a day. Studies show that teenagers with this kind of rule are much less likely to drive intoxicated.

We hope you have an awesome holiday, and stay safe!

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