It’s that time of year: parties, concerts, and other events full of holiday cheer. 

But that cheer is often accompanied by alcohol, marijuana, and other substances, and every holiday season that leads to more drug- and alcohol-related crashes than during other times of the year. 

Drunk driving accidents cause injuries and fatalities that are preventable, so make the decision now (not the night of your holiday party) that you won’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Do You Know These Drunk Driving Statistics?

Every day in the United States, there are 28 crash fatalities caused by drunk driving — that’s one person every 52 minutes. That adds up to 10,000 deaths at the hands of a drunk driver every year. 

During the 2018 period between Christmas and New Year’s, there were 285 impaired-driving-related fatalities — nearly 41 every day. DUIs are at their highest during Thanksgiving weekend through New Year’s Day. 

It’s not just alcohol that’s a problem: In 2017, 45% of drivers killed in fatal crashes who were tested for other drugs, tested positive. 

Make a Plan to Get Home Safely

The choice not to drink and drive is the right one, but you still need to get home safely, and the lack of judgment and control that comes with being impaired can have disastrous consequences. That’s why it’s important to make a detailed plan ahead of time for how to get home if you plan to partake. 

Assigning a designated driver is one of the best ways to arrive home safely, but sometimes you have to find other transportation. Here are some tips recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

Never ride with someone who has been drinking. Even if someone has been drinking less than you, that doesn’t equal sober. Never get in the car with someone behind the wheel who has been drinking. 

Walking can be dangerous, too. It’s estimated that nearly one third of fatal pedestrian crashes in 2017 involved someone who was impaired and walking. Biking, scootering, and other forms of transportation are not safe when you’re impaired. 

Take extra care when using ridesharing or public transportation. Be aware of your surroundings, know where you’re headed and how to get there. Make sure the license plate and car description match what you requested if you’re using a ride-hailing service or app like Lyft or Uber, and be sure to find a safe, well-lit spot for pickup. Studies have shown decreases in drunk-driving crashes have resulted from ridesharing, so this is a great option when used wisely. 

Always wear your seatbelt. Even if you’re not driving and even if you’re not going very far, make sure you wear your seatbelt anytime you’re in a vehicle. 

We’re here to help. All of our instructors at Stop and Go Driving School are focused on helping you drive safely all the time. Get the defensive driving skills you need, and also check out our Alive@25 class for teen drivers.