Historically, Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous weekends of the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This year, the COVID pandemic may cause fewer people to travel. However, there are still many safety concerns to consider. During the pandemic, more people are using alcohol and drugs. In fact, a recent report from NHTSA showed that during the lockdown and pandemic, drug and alcohol use in serious injuries and fatalities increased significantly. In many cases, they take in more than normal, and this overindulgence may be accompanied by lapses in judgment when it comes to safety.
The Day Before Thanksgiving Drinking
Thanksgiving is a prime time for alcohol-related accidents, especially the night before Thanksgiving. Many refer to the day before Thanksgiving drinking as “Blackout Wednesday” as it’s the biggest drinking night of the year. Bars and restaurants often run drink specials and host parties dedicated to the drinking holiday, as people celebrate the fact that they don’t have to work the following day by drinking to excess.
While many bars and restaurants are closed this year due to COVID, it’s still important to be careful.
Perhaps these sobering holiday statistics from NHTSA will encourage drivers to make safer choices. They show a startling increase in holiday fatalities:
- In 2018, 291 passengers were killed during the Thanksgiving Holiday in drunk or impaired driving incidents.
- The number of fatalities increased to an estimated 454 deaths in alcohol-related accidents over the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Drinking impairs your driving ability and it can also impair your judgment regarding personal safety measures like seatbelts. If you’re concerned about being on the road, we’ve come up with some solutions that will hopefully alleviate anxiety and keep you safe.
Grateful for a Safe Thanksgiving
Don’t worry! There are many ways you can ensure your family stays safe this Thanksgiving. If you’re hosting a gathering or family meal, follow these tips to ensure all your guests stay safe.
- Don’t overbuy — as a host, it’s tempting to be overly prepared and purchase more food and drinks than you will need. When it comes to alcohol, consider purchasing less. If you run out, there’s plenty of food, coffee, and soft drinks for people to drink as they enjoy the meal and company. Also, keep in mind that with COVID travel restrictions, your gathering may be smaller than usual this year, so account for the correct number of guests too!
- Don’t over serve — try to keep an eye on how much everyone is drinking. If someone is drinking a lot, ask them if they want to spend the night or if they’ll need a cab. Make it easy to avoid driving drunk.
- Plan activities — keep everyone busy with board games, a movie marathon, a trivia session, or anything else you know they love to cut down on the drinking. If everyone’s having fun and engaged, they may not feel the need to grab another beer or glass of wine. They won’t want to miss the fun.
- Choose a designated driver — Choosing a designated driver before the event will make everyone feel more comfortable. If there is reluctance among your guests to stay sober, perhaps a reward can be offered. Everyone can chip in to pay the sober driver, or purchase them a nice gift. People will likely be more willing to volunteer with an incentive.
- Gather safe ride alternatives — Uber, Lyft and other rideshare companies are a common go-to for safe rides. If you’re unsure about availability in your area on a holiday, it’s a good idea to look into local cab companies and other alternatives. Program numbers into your cell phone. You’ll be glad to have the information readily available when it’s time.
- Remind guests to buckle up — many deaths and serious injuries can be prevented by this simple safety measure. Sometimes, people who have indulged a lot may be reluctant to buckle up. Walk them to their car and ensure they do. It may save them from a terrible injury or even death.
- Offer the option of spending the night — if you’re able, you may want to let guests know they can spend the night at your home or in a nearby hotel at your expense if you’re concerned about them driving. If you know that a guest is likely to overindulge, have this option ready by renting a room or preparing a guest bedroom or sofa for an overnight rest.
If you make it clear before the event that drunk driving won’t be tolerated, all your guests have time to plan ahead for a safe alternative. Also, this will hopefully avoid any confrontations as the night wears on.
Voluntary Ignition Interlock Devices Help Prevent Drunk Driving
If you or someone you love struggles with sobriety, consider taking an extra step to stay safe. An ignition interlock device can be installed to prevent them from starting the car with alcohol in their system. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said in a 2018 report that DUI deaths decreased by 16 percent in states that require IIDs for all DUI offenders.
The devices can be leased, and voluntary users even receive a discount. The holidays are a dangerous time, and getting an IID could save you or a loved one from getting in an accident, or getting convicted for DUI.
Contact us today to learn more about our ignition interlock device.