As we prepare to join family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, I would like to take this opportunity to remind all that the only safe way to drive is sober. The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving has evolved into a cultural phenomenon called “Thanksgiving Eve,” that has been become associated with drinking and a big night for bars. It is sometimes promoted on social media as “Drinksgiving,” “Danksgiving,” and “Blackout Wednesday.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2013 to 2017, more than 800 people died in alcohol related crashes over the Thanksgiving holiday. They state that more alcohol related driving deaths occurred on Thanksgiving than on New Year’s Eve in four of the past five years. Thanksgiving has become a deadly holiday.
There are an estimated 35,000 traffic related deaths each year and approximately 1 in 3 traffic related deaths is due to drunk driving. Most police departments and CHP will have extra officers on patrol over this holiday weekend since so many of us will be on the road. They will be looking for drivers who show signs of driving under the influence. Remember, buzzed driving is drunk driving. And alcohol is not the only thing that will impair your driving ability: prescription medications, over the counter cold/flu medications, and marijuana also can impair your driving abilities including reaction time, especially in combination with alcohol. If you plan on drinking or taking any medication, play it safe and have a designated sober driver or use a taxi or ride share service to get where you’re going.
If you are hosting a holiday party, Mothers Against Drunk Driving offer the following tips to show your guests you care about them and want them to get home safely: Offer plenty of food to keep guests from drinking on an empty stomach. Serve mocktails as a fun and festive alternative for designated drivers. As guests leave, confirm their plan for a safe ride home either with a designated sober driver or a taxi or ride share service. Avoid over drinking and over serving guests. Plan for one drink per hour per guest and buy alcohol accordingly. Follow the law and never offer alcohol to guests under 21.
If you see an impaired driver on the road, call the police. And whether driving or riding, always wear your seat belt.