The holidays are a time for enjoying the company of your loved ones, celebrating, and partaking in all of the fun festivities. Unfortunately, it's also a time of year where the number of DUI arrests increases. Because so many people are attending holiday parties and dinners, they often decide to have a drink or two. And there's nothing wrong with that! However, the problem arises when you have a few drinks and decide to drive yourself home.
Driving under the influence is never a good idea. It puts you and those around you in danger. And let's just say that a DUI is a quick way to put a damper on what is meant to be a fun time of year. To make sure this doesn't happen to you, we're sharing how to avoid a DUI during the holiday season…
1. Don't drink and drive.
To put it simply, the only true way to avoid a DUI during the holiday is to not drink and drive. Now, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a spiked eggnog at your office holiday party. It just means you need to make a smart decision regarding how you'll get home after you've indulged in an alcoholic beverage or two.
If you plan to have a couple of drinks at a holiday party, know how you're going to get yourself home before you even arrive at the party. Plan to call for a taxi or an Uber and make sure you have some cash on hand specifically for the ride home. You can also choose to make a friend your designated driver for the night. Find someone who is willing to forgo drinking to make sure you and others will get home safely. There's always someone who will step up and take the responsibility of this task!
2. Prepare in advance for a night out.
If you're heading to a fun holiday party where you know you'll have a few drinks, it's always a wise decision to prepare in advance. That means to eat something prior to getting your first drink. The effects of alcohol are stronger on an empty stomach, so make sure you've eaten a good meal beforehand. Once you've started drinking, it's best to pace yourself so you don't overdo it.
3. Know your limit.
Odds are, you've been drinking for a while and are experienced enough to know what your personal limit is. It's important to keep track of just how much you've had to drink and cut yourself off before you get drunk. If you aren't sure just how much you can handle, there are blood alcohol content (BAC) calculators online that require you to input your size and gender. It will give you an idea of what your BAC level will be after a certain amount of alcohol. This can help you make a smarter decision about how much you're able to drink. You just need to make sure you stay below the legal limit.
Keep in mind that these calculators are not 100% foolproof and cannot be used as valid evidence in court. By driving home, you still could be pulled over and charged with a DUI if your BAC level is higher than the legal limit. These calculators will just give you an idea of how much alcohol your body should be able to handle.
4. Know your state laws.
It's also a good idea to be aware of the laws in your state. Figure out what the legal limit is for your BAC, first and foremost. If you're planning to drive, you need to make sure you stay under that level, as mentioned above. You'll also want to know any other laws regarding DUI arrests.
In many states, “sleeping it off” can lead to a DUI arrest, so it wouldn't be a smart decision to do that without first knowing what your state's laws are. Sitting in the driver's seat with the keys in the ignition, even if you are asleep, can lead to a DUI if your BAC level is above the legal limit. You don't want to risk doing anything that could result in your arrest.
5. Drive safely.
If you'll be out on the road, make sure you obey all traffic laws in your state to avoid getting pulled over in the first place. You see, police need a reason to pull you over and in many DUI cases, the driver was stopped for something other than suspicion of driving under the influence. You could be pulled over because of your behavior when driving, whether it's speeding, driving too slow, or driving too closely to other vehicles. It's also important to make sure you don't roll through a stop sign because that will get you pulled over if caught.
Other simple things that could warrant a traffic stop are expired tags, a blown out tail light, or even a cracked windshield. So, if you want to avoid getting pulled over this holiday season, make sure you are obeying the law exactly.
6. Be aware of DUI checkpoints.
Police in your area are sure to set up DUI checkpoints in high-traffic areas this time of year. They're anticipating that people will be coming home from holiday parties and they're out to catch anyone who is driving under the influence. If you're going to be driving home, it's a good idea to be aware of any checkpoints on your route home. Try to avoid them if possible. You can find out from friends and family in your area or see if someone has posted checkpoint locations on social media. There are also apps dedicated to reporting DUI checkpoints and could be worthwhile to check before hitting the road.
However, if you are stopped at a checkpoint or pulled over for any other reason, make sure you are well-behaved when dealing with the police officer. Rude, irresponsible behavior will only give the officer more reason to cause trouble for you. When dealing with police, always do as you are told and be polite when communicating with them.