Many holidays such as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas bring out the party animals in people. But those holidays pale in comparison to New Year’s Eve. Maybe it’s the anxiety and anticipation of a new year, but people seem to go nuts on New Year’s Eve.
Statistics support this statement. For example, DUIs increase by 155% over New Year’s Eve (compared to only a 33% increase over Christmas and a 30% increase over Thanksgiving). A 155% increase is startling—and a warning that you need to be extra careful on the roads on New Year’s Eve.
Here are four ways to keep yourself and other drivers as safe as possible on New Year’s Eve:
Avoid as much driving as possible.
If there is one time during the year when you should get creative about ways to not drive, New Year’s Eve is that time. A few creative alternatives include:
- Staying in a hotel. If you’ve got the budget for it, stay at a hotel where some New Year’s Eve festivities take place—or just celebrate with friends and family in your hotel room. That way, you can drink and party without needing to drive.
- Taking a shuttle or bus. Many New Year Eve events often offer free shuttle or bus services to take you safely to the event and back.
- Taking a taxi or a service like Uber or Lyft. If it’s not too far, consider taking a taxi service to your destination and back. It may be pricey, but it’s better than a DUI.
- Using a designated driver. A tried and true method is having a friend or family member stay sober so they can drive you home.
Take responsibility for other drivers if you host a party.
Obviously, you want to have fun at your New Year’s Eve party—and fun often involves alcohol. That’s okay, but keep your guests safe as much as possible. Some creative ways include:
- Letting people crash at your place. It’s just one night during the year when this may happen, so consider letting people stay overnight so that they don’t drive home drunk.
- Making sure that people have sober rides home. Check with guests before and while they leave to make sure a designated driver or taxi service is taking them home. If necessary, prevent a drunk driver from getting on the road by offering to drive them home or getting another sober person to do it.
- Serving lots of non-alcoholic beverages and food. Non-alcoholic options help people curb back on drinking during the evening. It’s easier to get drunk and end up driving if alcoholic beverages are pretty much the only option.
- Offering activities that don’t center around drinking. Consider interactive activities such as board games, video games, and other ways to focus attention on fun that doesn’t require drinking.
If you have to drive on New Year’s Eve, be especially alert.
Up your defensive driving to the maximum on New Year’s Eve. Remember, you’re much more likely to encounter drunk drivers on New Year’s Eve than on any other day of the year. Especially be careful between midnight and 5 a.m. when the highest number of drunk drivers will be on the roads. Also, you’re more likely to encounter drunk drivers in areas with many bars and restaurants (such as downtown areas).
Avoid biking or walking as an alternative.
You might think that hopping on a bike or walking home may be a great alternative to driving. First, if you’re drunk, biking or walking still endangers you and others. You may weave in front of traffic and cause an accident, potentially injuring both yourself and others. Second, if you’re sober, you still put yourself at risk on a bike or as a pedestrian. Again, the higher likelihood of drunk drivers on the roads during New Year’s Eve means you’re more likely to get hit on a bike or as a pedestrian—even if you’re trying to be extra careful.
No matter how you handle New Year’s Eve, know that it’s one of the most dangerous times to be on the road. Follow the advice above as best you can in order to keep you, your family, and your friends safe.
Injured on the road during New Year’s Eve? Call us for a free consultation.