The holidays are upon us.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner: a time when family and friends travel from near and far to reunite and spend quality time together.
But before the big day is the big night. Thanksgiving Eve (the night before Thanksgiving) has become one of the biggest nights of the year for bars.
Partiers flock to drinking establishments on Thanksgiving Eve for a number of reasons. College students are back to see their old friends. Mini high school reunions pop up all over among people returning home to see their families. Some revelers just need a drink to tune out the stress of the holidays.
One thing is for sure: while bars will make a killing the night before Thanksgiving, drinking too much can also kill – especially if there is driving involved.
How to Stay Safe on Thanksgiving Eve
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 800 people died in drunk driving accidents during Thanksgiving week between 2012 and 2016. This makes Thanksgiving the most dangerous holiday for drinking and driving.
Here are a few tips to avoid becoming a statistic this holiday season:
Most people don’t intend to drive drunk. You show up to a bar expecting to have one or two drinks with a friend before calling it a night. As you know, it doesn’t always go this way, especially on Thanksgiving Eve. The old friend you haven’t seen in years shows up and now you’re staying for another round…or two.
Stay out of trouble by planning ahead and always assuming you’ll have a few more drinks than you expect. A few ways to play it safe include:
- Take public transportation or walk to your destination
- Order an Uber or Lyft (or call a cab if you’re feeling old fashioned)
- Travel with a designated driver you can rely on
- Make arrangements to stay the night somewhere near the bar so you don’t have to drive home until the morning
Of course, when planning ahead fails, you still have options. If you feel like there’s any chance you are over the legal limit to drive, hand your car keys over to a friend.
Don’t Drink Too Much
Ok, this one goes without saying. But think about it: the holidays are a time to gather with friends and family and make memories–not black out. Thanksgiving is certainly not the time to cause an accident or get arrested because you drove drunk.
Watch Out for the Other Guy
Because of how many drunk drivers may be on the road the night before Thanksgiving, even driving completely sober can be dangerous. If you can’t avoid driving entirely, be sure to adhere to all the safe driving practices you know and be particularly vigilant about other drivers on the road.
Watch Out for DUI Checkpoints
Thanksgiving Eve is a big drinking night, and the cops know it. For this reason, the police often set up sobriety checkpoints on the roads in order to stop and check every driver for signs of inebriation.
A checkpoint can get you in trouble even if you are just barely over the legal limit. Although you may be driving perfectly, you need to stop regardless.
Remember, you are never required to take a breathalyzer, but you may have your license suspended if you refuse.
Best case scenario if you drive through a DUI checkpoint: you haven’t had a drop of alcohol. Otherwise, remember you have the right to refuse testing and you don’t have to tell the police anything. If you are arrested, your first call should be to an experienced DUI defense attorney.
Look Out for your Friends and Family
If you’re reading this, you’re already one step ahead and prepared to take on Thanksgiving Eve safely. Now get in the holiday spirit and help others do the same. If you see a friend or family member (or anyone really) fumbling with their car keys after a few beers, step in and offer to call them a cab or drive them home. They’ll thank you when they see the DUI checkpoint set up down the road.