Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, an annual Irish-themed celebration rife with songs, shamrocks, and green beer – lots of it. While most people don’t quite know the origins of the holiday (did it involve snakes and Ireland?), they nonetheless view it as one of the premier drinking holidays of the year.
Of course, with consumption of alcoholic beverages must come a sense of responsibility, especially if you’re not fit to get behind the wheel. And of all the holidays we cover, this is especially important on St. Patrick’s Day.
The Not-So-Lucky Numbers
According the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), St. Paddy’s Day is one of the deadliest holidays of the year – purely due to the sheer number of drunk drivers on the road.
- The St. Patrick’s Day period from March 16 to March 18 has historically been an incredibly deadly time on the road – in the US alone, there were 226 fatalities due to drunk-driving collisions from 2010 to 2014.
- In 2014 alone, 28 people were killed in drunk-driving related collisions.
- Between midnight and 5:59 a.m. of March 18, 2014, almost half of all collision-related deaths involved drunk drivers.
With those kinds of numbers, there’s no denying it: St. Patrick’s Day can be an incredibly dangerous holiday for those hitting the road.
Keep an Eye Out, Even If You’re Sober and/or a Pedestrian
St. Patrick’s Day is not only dangerous to those to consume alcohol, but also to those sober drivers who share the road. Keep an eye out for cars that swerve or suddenly speed up and slow down. If they are truly endangering the lives of others, pull over and dial 911 to report the drunk driver.
Pedestrians run a huge risk during this holiday period as well. Sober or drunk, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for any other cars. If you’re intoxicated and having trouble walking, it’s better to stay put and call a taxi or any other ridesharing service. In 2014, 35% of pedestrians killed in crashes had BACs of .08 or higher.
Be Responsible If You’re Out
If/when you find yourself in a raucous St. Patrick’s Day celebration, don’t even try to drive back home. Even if you’ve had just a couple drinks, buzzed driving is drunk driving. In this day and age of high technology and instant connection, you have plenty of options at your disposal:
- Set a designated driver before going out, if you have to.
- Call a taxi. Don’t have a number? Google it from your smartphone.
- Hitch a ride from one of several ridesharing services available right on your phone. Seriously, a car is literally just a few touches away.
- Don’t want to leave your car at the pub? If it’s available, the Automobile Association of America (AAA) may give you a free lift (car included) within a 15-mile radius thanks to their “Tipsy Tow” program.
With so many rational, reasonable options at your disposal, there’s simply no excuse to drive drunk. Remember: a DUI costs, on average, about $10,000. Do you really want to gamble with that kind of money when you could just as easily get an Uber?