Every year, alcohol-related auto accidents claim thousands of lives and cause countless more injuries, and New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest days for these tragic events. To help prepare for this and hopefully prevent some from happening, St. Petersburg police have announced that they will be beefing up their patrols to watch for drunk drivers. However, it’s also up to you to do your part to keep yourself, loved ones, and others safe by just saying no to drinking and driving. Consider these tips to help you ring in 2015 safely.
- Designate a sober driver. If you are partying away from home this New Year’s Eve, make sure you have a sober person lined up to drive you home. Whether it’s a person that’s in your group or not, it needs to be decided upon beforehand that this individual agrees to stay sober and will drive everyone home safely.
- Call a cab or use public transit. If you can’t find a friend willing to be a designated driver, then plan on using a taxi, bus, or some other form of public transportation to get you home safely. Many cab companies in the Saint Petersburg area offer discounted or even free services on New Year’s Eve. Before you head out, check online to see which service you want to use, and then program their number into your phone so you can easily call when you’re ready to go home.
- Give your keys to someone else. If you think you may be tempted to drive home after partying, or if you have a habit of thinking that you’re still capable of driving after just a few drinks, it may be wise to hand over your keys to someone else ahead of time. Doing this can deter you from getting behind the wheel, even if you think you’re sober enough to drive.
- Pack an overnight bag just in case. If you’re partying at a friend’s or relative’s place, pack a small bag with a few essentials in case you need to stay overnight. Having this handy can eliminate a lot of worry about how you’re going to get home, and if you do need to stay, you’re prepared.
- Don’t think that it’s safer to walk. Walking may seem like a safe choice after a long night of drinking, but it isn’t always. Ask any personal injury attorney and they’ll tell you that more pedestrians are killed or injured on New Year’s than any other time of year.
- Don’t try to sober up with coffee. Coffee is not a magic cure for drunkenness, and downing a few cups of joe will not suddenly make it safe for you to drive. Do not turn to coffee as the answer for sobering up quickly so you can drive home. If you’re pulled over, your blood alcohol content will still register the same, even if your head feels a little clearer.
If you plan on ringing in 2015 with champagne or other alcoholic beverages, please do it responsibly. The same goes for your friends, family, and whoever else you’re partying with. If you see someone getting behind the wheel that shouldn’t be driving, stop them. Call a cab, offer them a place to stay, take their keys – do something to help them avoid the inherent dangers in driving drunk.