Did you know that 40 percent of traffic-related deaths during the holidays are a result of intoxicated drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration? That’s compared to 28 percent the rest of the year. Driving requires a person’s attentiveness, the ability to make quick decisions and to react to changes in the environment. Alcohol use slows reaction time and impairs judgment and coordination, which are all skills needed to drive a car safely.

Individuals react to alcohol differently. Many factors such as age, sex, physical condition, amount of food consumed before drinking, how quickly the alcohol was consumed, and the use of drugs or prescription medicines (CDC) influence how each person reacts to alcoholic beverages.

Alcohol takes time to metabolize out of your system. Coffee will not speed up this process.

Did you know that specialty craft beer can have a higher alcohol content? Your average bottle of “Lite” usually has about 4.2% ABV (Alcohol by volume), but specialty craft beers can now range between 5% and 12% (if not more) ABV. Also, in recent years the alcohol content of wine has spiked dramatically. Wine makers have been leaving those grapes longer on the vines which translates into a fuller bodied wine with more alcohol content.

So this holiday season take steps to protect yourself and others by planning some safe alternatives to drinking and driving.

  • If you will be drinking, designate a sober driver before you go out.
  • Plan to use a ride-sharing service, a cab or public transportation to get home safely.
  • Take the keys away from friends who intend to drive after drinking and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

Operating a motor vehicle while impaired can have deadly consequences, so just DON’T DO IT.

Until next month … Stay aware and Stay Safe.