When I think about St. Patrick’s Day, there are a few words that come to mind: Irish, green, shamrocks, and of course, beer.
According to an estimate by IbisWorld, Americans spent more than $245 million on beer on St. Patrick’s Day in 2012. That’s an incredible figure for a holiday that is not legally recognized as a holiday in the United States.
Unfortunately, drinking can also lead to drunk driving and alcohol-related accidents. These accidents are often fatal. The NHTSA reports that in 2011, 38 people in the US were killed in drunk driving crashes, on St. Patrick’s Day. This represents 34 percent of all highway fatalities for that time period.
Since St. Patrick’s Day is Monday, we wanted to offer some tips to help keep you safe and to avoid any alcohol-related injuries.
1) Designate a driver. Under no circumstances should you drink and drive. Have a volunteer or designate someone to remain sober for the duration of the evening. Entice them by buying their non-alcoholic drinks and food.
2) Have an alternate plan. If no one volunteers to be the designated driver and no one will agree to be one, make sure you have an alternate plan to get home. Options include calling a friend for a ride, or renting a room at a nearby hotel. Also remember that many areas offer safe driving alternatives, so check to see if there are taxi companies or associations offering a program.
3) Don’t bring valuables. In most cases, a night out for St. Patrick’s Day will not require you to wear expensive jewelry and accessories. Limit yourself to the necessities, such as a small amount of cash and your phone. The less you bring, the less you risk losing.
Keep an Eye Out
4) Hydrate and eat. Don’t drink on an empty stomach and keep your belly full with Irish specialties, such as a shepherd’s pie or corned beef sandwich. Drink water or soda in between the beers.
5) Stay by your drinks. Always remain by your drink and never leave it unattended. You should also never accept a drink that has been opened for you. To learn more about the dangers of leaving drinks unattended, visit JustThinkTwice.
6) Watch out for your friends. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. The motto holds true especially on holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day. If your friend is intoxicated and looks like they’re about to get behind the wheel, take their keys and arrange a different way to get them home.
7) Drive slow. You might be sober, but remember that you’re not the only one on the road. Be attentive and buckle up, it might save your life.
8) Watch out for people not in vehicles. Many people do the smart thing and avoid driving after drinking. Instead, they walk. While you’re driving, keep an eye out for pedestrians.
Celebrate at Home
9) Host the party. Consider hosting a party at your home instead of going out to a bar. It’s a safer setting where you can control the flow of alcohol. It also allows you to…
10) Let friends to stay the night. Another benefit of having a party at home is having a safe place for friends to sleep. If they drink too much, take their keys and arrange an area for them to rest until the morning.
Don’t forget to wear green (unless you want to be pinched!) and keep you and your friends safe this St. Patrick’s Day by following these tips. We hope you have a safe and festive holiday!