The holiday season is a time to be festive and celebrate with friends, family and colleagues. Unfortunately, it also can be a dangerous time to hit the roads in Ontario. Impaired driving remains a key safety concern throughout the province and the nation.
CBC News reported that Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) issued more drunk driving charges in the 2012 holiday season than it had for the previous eight seasons. In fact, an OPP spokesman cited impaired driving as the “leading cause of criminal death” in the nation.
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Below are tips to help you stay safe and avoid drunk driving accidents this holiday season:
1. Choose a designated driver
Before heading out to a bar, restaurant or holiday gathering, appoint one person in the group to act as the designated driver. This person should abstain from alcoholic beverages for the duration of the celebration.
2. Make it more appealing to act as the designated driver
The job of designated driver can rotate throughout the holiday season to allow groups of friends and family to share the responsibility. Those who are drinking can chip in to buy the designated driver his or her non-alcoholic beverages for the duration of the celebration.
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3. Know how alcohol impacts your body
Writing for Huffington Post, Dr. David Sack, who is board-certified in addiction psychiatry and medicine, reports that it takes about one hour for the average adult to process the amount of alcohol found in a 12-ounce beer, 5-ounce glass of wine or a shot of hard liquor. These estimations vary depending on a person’s gender, age, weight, height and rate of consumption. Your metabolism, current medications and health complications also affect blood alcohol content. Consider all of this before assuming you are safe because you “just had a few glasses of wine.”
4. Put local taxi services on speed dial
If you know you will drink when you are out and about, set aside cash to pay for a taxi ride home. Pre-program several cab company numbers into your cell phone or download a taxi-location application for your smart phone (such as Taxi Ontario). Or schedule your pickup time and location at the start of the evening to help you to stick to the plan.
5. Stay the night
Had a few too many at a friend’s party? Accept the offer of a safe place to sleep for the night on the couch or a guest bedroom.
6. Be on the defensive
Even those who abstain from drinking and driving themselves are at risk from other drivers. Be wary of all other drivers, especially on nights like Christmas Eve or New Years Eve and late at night or early the next morning.
As all drivers should know, drunk driving is among the most dangerous behaviors in which to engage in any season. Check out these statistics that demonstrate the dangers of drinking and driving.